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Monmouth University Polling Institute

Obama Job Rating Improves in New Jersey

Thursday, May 19, 2011

President gets high marks on fighting terrorism, but most say bin Laden death doesn’t make them feel any safer

New Jerseyans give President Barack Obama high marks for his job performance, reversing the steady decline noted in past Monmouth University/NJ Press Media Polls .  His job rating now stands at 60% approve to 35% disapprove among all state residents and 60% to 36% among registered voters.  In September 2010, he was polling at 47% approve to 44% disapprove among Garden State voters.  Currently, 87% of Democrats, 54% of independents and 26% of Republicans give positive ratings.

"There's little question that the killing of Osama bin Laden earlier this month has had a positive impact on the president's ratings.  And it's no surprise that his bump in the polls would be higher in New Jersey than in most other states considering how 9/11 had such a direct impact on us," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.  "However, the president gets mixed grades on the economy and that issue is likely to be more important to voters when the 2012 election rolls around."

The poll found that 75% of New Jerseyans approve of the way President Obama is handling the threat of terrorism.  Just 20% disapprove.  Approval comes from majorities of Democrats (86%), independents (73%), and Republicans (59%) alike.

On the other hand, residents are split on how Obama has dealt with the economy - 48% approve to 49% disapprove.  Only Democrats (76%) approve, while independents (52%) and Republicans (86%) disapprove of his handling of this key issue.

Most New Jerseyans (57%) feel that the killing of Osama bin Laden has increased the short term threat of terrorism in the United States, but only one-third (35%) feel that those threats will persist in the long term.  At the same time, only 21% feel that Osama bin Laden's death has actually decreased long term threats to the U.S.  A plurality of 42% feel that the demise of bin Laden's has had no impact on future terrorist threats.

Considering how many New Jerseyans were directly affected by the attacks of 9/11, it's interesting to note that 14% of state residents say they personally feel more safe from terrorism since bin Laden's death and a similar 19% say they feel less safe.  The vast majority (67%) say that bin Laden's death has had no effect on how safe from terrorism they feel personally.  These New Jersey results are similar to a national CBS News/New York Times poll conducted earlier this month.

The poll also found that ratings for Senator Bob Menendez, who is up for reelection in 2012, have improved since last year, while those of the state's other senator, Frank Lautenberg, have remained stable.  Currently, Menendez garners a 46% approve to 27% disapprove rating from Garden State residents and a 46% to 28% rating among registered voters, which is up from the 38% to 33% rating he held last July.  Lautenberg stands at 48% approve to 29% disapprove among New Jersey residents and 48% to 30% rating among voters, similar to the 47% to 33% rating he had in July.  New Jerseyans give even better ratings to their own U.S. House Representative - 53% approve to 26% disapprove among all residents and 55% to 25% among registered voters.

Although New Jerseyans give generally positive marks to the president and their Congressional delegation, few state residents (32%) are satisfied with the way things are going in Washington, DC.  Twice as many (61%) say they are dissatisfied.

The Monmouth University/NJ Press Media Poll  was conducted by telephone with 807 New Jersey adults from May 12 to 16, 2011.  This sample has a margin of error of ±  3.5 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute and originally published by the NJ Press Media newspaper group (Asbury Park Press, Courier-Post, Courier News, Daily Journal, Daily Record, and Home News Tribune).

The questions referred to in this release are as follows:

1.     Do you approve or disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing as president?

[QUESTIONS 2 AND 3 WERE ROTATED]

2.     Do you approve or disapprove of the job Frank Lautenberg is doing as United States Senator?

3.     Do you approve or disapprove of the job Bob Menendez is doing as United States Senator?

4.     Do you approve or disapprove of the job your local member of Congress is doing?

5.     Overall, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are currently going in Washington?

6.     Do you approve or disapprove of the way President Obama is handling the economy?

7.     Do you approve or disapprove of the way President Obama is handling the threat of terrorism?

8.     As you may know, Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan.  As a result of the killing of bin Laden, in the next few months do you think the threat of terrorism, decrease, or stay about the same?

9.     How about in the long term? As a result of the killing of bin Laden, in the long term do you think the threat of terrorism against the United States will increase, decrease, or stay about the same?

10.   Now that Osama bin Laden has been killed, do you personally feel more safe from the threat of terrorism, less safe, or has this had no effect on how safe you feel?

 

The Monmouth University/NJ Press Media Poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute on May 12 to 16, 2011 with a statewide random sample of 807 adult residents.  Sampling and live telephone interviewing services were provided by Braun Research, Inc.  For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.  Sampling error increases as the sample size decreases, so statements based on various population subgroups, such as separate figures reported by gender or party identification, are subject to more error than are statements based on the total sample.  In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

It is the Monmouth University Polling Institute’s policy to conduct surveys of all adult New Jersey residents, including voters and non-voters, on issues that affect the state.  Specific voter surveys are conducted when appropriate during election cycles.

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups.

Download this Poll Report with all tables

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