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Booker in Lead, but Not Overwhelming

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Obama ratings slip; negative views of ACA, Iraq

Sen. Cory Booker has the early advantage in his bid for reelection, but his lead is tempered by an unsettled electorate.  The Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll  also found that Pres. Barack Obama’s ratings have slipped in the Garden State, with residents holding negative views on his handling of Iraq and his signature health care policy.

The early line on this year’s New Jersey Senate race has incumbent Cory Booker garnering support from 43% of registered voters and challenger Jeff Bell with 23%.  Another 15% say they would vote for another candidate at this early stage of the campaign and 17% are undecided.  Booker garners the support of 73% of Democrats and Bell has the backing of 61% of his fellow Republicans.  Independents give Booker a 35% to 20% edge.  It’s worth noting that 18% of independents, 13% of Republicans, and 12% of Democrats say they would back a third party candidate if the election were today.

“It is very unlikely that the pool of independent candidates in this year’s senate contest will break into double digits, especially since Democrats and Republicans rarely stray from their respective party’s nominee come Election Day.  However, the early preference for ‘none of the above’ among both partisans and independent voters indicate a simmering distrust of the two major parties,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.  “The underlying fundamentals of Booker’s steady, positive job rating should place him in a strong position for November, but voters are less ready to commit to his reelection than they were just a few months ago.”

Among the state’s registered voters, 48% approve of Booker’s performance during his eight months on the job while just 25% disapprove.  Another 27% have no opinion.  These numbers are similar to the 47%-23% rating he received in April and his 47%-20% rating in February.  The poll finds that 68% of Democrats, 41% of independents, and 31% of Republicans give Booker a positive job rating, while just 12% of Democrats, 27% of independents, and 39% of Republicans give him a negative job rating.

When asked whether Booker should be reelected, 44% of New Jersey voters say he deserves another term while 35% say it is time to have someone else in that Senate seat.  Four months ago, a solid majority of 55% said that Booker should be reelected.  The number of voters who say it is time for someone new, though, is basically the same as it was in February (33%).  The shift in support for Booker has come from those who previously said he deserved reelection but now say they are unsure – 21%, up from 12% in February.

Currently, 44% of Garden State voters have a favorable impression of Cory Booker as a person and just 15% hold an unfavorable view.  Another 40% have no opinion.  These results are slightly lower, but not much different, than the 49% favorable, 16% unfavorable, and 36% no opinion result measured in February.

Jeff Bell, who was also the GOP nominee for US Senate in 1978 and recently moved back to New Jersey in order to run for Booker’s seat, has much lower name recognition.  Currently, 12% of voters have a favorable view and 6% have an unfavorable view of Bell, with 82% offering no opinion.  That’s a slightly better showing than in February, when public opinion of Bell registered at 4% favorable, 3% unfavorable, and 93% with no opinion.

The poll also examined Pres. Obama’s standing in the Garden State.  Among all adult residents, he currently holds a split 48% approve to 48% disapprove job rating.  Among voters, Obama’s rating is a decidedly negative 45% approve to 51% disapprove.  That is a drop from the positive 49% approve to 47% disapprove rating he received from voters in both April and February and a return to the 44% approve to 50% disapprove levels recorded in January.  While 71% of New Jersey Democrats approve of the President’s job performance, only 41% of independents and just 19% of Republicans feel the same.

Two issues which do not help Obama’s standing are tensions in Iraq and declining regard for his signature health care reforms.  On foreign policy, just 30% of New Jerseyans approve of how Obama is handling the situation in Iraq while 46% disapprove, with 24% having no opinion.

On the domestic side, 42% of New Jerseyans hold a favorable view of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, while a majority of 52% have an unfavorable opinion.  This is more negative than the 45% favorable and 49% unfavorable rating recorded in April.  The only time New Jerseyans held more positive than negative views of Obamacare was before it was actually launched last October.

“The situation in Iraq is a probably a good metaphor for Pres. Obama’s standing with the public.  It’s difficult to see how it could turn the corner,” said Murray.

The Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll  also found that New Jersey’s senior U.S. Senator, Bob Menendez, holds a positive 47% approve to 34% disapprove job rating among the state’s voters.  This is down slightly from the 51% approve to 31% disapprove rating he held in April.

The Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll  was conducted by telephone with 800 New Jersey adults, including 717 registered voters, from June 25 to June 29, 2014.  The total sample has a margin of error of ± 3.5 percent and the registered voter sample has a margin of error of ± 3.7 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute and originally published by the Asbury Park Press and its sister publications (Courier-Post, Courier News, Daily Journal, Daily Record, and Home News Tribune).

DATA TABLES

The questions referred to in this release are as follows:

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

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

 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY IDGENDERAGE

RACE

  

Yes

NoDemIndRepMaleFemale18-3435-5455+WhiteBlack

Hispanic

Approve48%45%63%71%41%19%46%50%60%46%39%36%81%57%
Disapprove48%51%33%26%54%78%50%46%35%51%56%61%11%41%
(VOL) Don’t know4%4%4%3%6%3%4%4%5%3%4%3%8%2%
TREND: Registered
Voters – Second Term
June
2014
April
2014
Feb.
2014
Jan.
2014
Dec.
2013
Sept.
2013
April
2013
Feb.
2013
Approve45%49%49%44%47%50%55%60%
Disapprove51%47%47%50%47%41%42%33%
(VOL) Don’t know4%3%5%6%6%8%2%7%
Unwtd N

717

690690470698674694

697

TREND: Registered
voters – First Term
Dec.
2012
April
2012
Feb.
2012
Oct.
2011
Aug.
2011
May
2011
Sept.
2010
July
2010
April
2010
Feb.
2010
Oct.
2009
July
2009
Approve58%54%51%47%52%60%47%51%54%53%54%59%
Disapprove35%41%42%46%39%36%44%42%41%38%33%29%
(VOL) Don’t know6%5%6%7%9%4%9%6%5%9%14%12%
Unwtd N

726

692709693730725726747719716785

792

[QUESTION 2 WAS ASKED OF REGISTERED VOTERS ONLY]

2. As you may know there will be an election for U.S. Senate in November. If the election for U.S. Senate was today, would you vote for Cory Booker the Democrat, Jeff Bell the Republican, or some other candidate? [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

 

Registered
Voters

PARTY IDGENDERAGE

RACE

 

Dem

IndRepMaleFemale18-3435-5455+WhiteBlack

Hispanic

Cory Booker43%73%35%9%42%44%52%43%37%36%65%61%
Jeff Bell23%4%20%61%28%19%17%21%29%29%3%16%
Other candidate15%12%18%13%14%15%12%17%13%14%20%12%
(VOL) Undecided17%9%25%16%14%20%15%17%19%20%10%8%
(VOL)  Will not vote2%2%2%2%3%1%4%1%1%2%2%2%

[QUESTIONS 3 AND 4 WERE ROTATED]

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

 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY IDGENDERAGE

RACE

  

Yes

NoDemIndRepMaleFemale18-3435-5455+WhiteBlack

Hispanic

Approve47%47%48%61%41%33%46%49%53%44%46%44%51%59%
Disapprove32%34%22%19%37%49%36%29%24%35%37%37%21%26%
(VOL) Don’t know20%19%30%20%22%17%18%22%24%21%17%19%27%16%
TREND:
Registered voters only
June
2014
April
2014
Feb.
2014
Dec.
2013
April
2013
Feb.
2013
April
2012
Feb.
2012
Oct.
2011
Aug.
2011
May
2011
July
2010
Oct.
2008
April
2008
Jan.
2008
Approve47%51%49%47%44%41%40%41%43%38%46%38%34%41%37%
Disapprove34%31%30%27%38%31%25%26%29%33%28%33%25%31%25%
(VOL) Don’t know19%18%21%26%18%28%35%33%28%29%26%29%41%28%37%
Unwtd N

717

690690698694697692709693730725747900720

698

4. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Cory Booker is doing as United States Senator?

 TOTALREGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY IDGENDERAGERACE
  YesNoDemIndRepMaleFemale18-3435-5455+WhiteBlackHispanic
Approve49%48%56%68%41%31%47%51%59%47%44%43%69%61%
Disapprove24%25%15%12%27%39%27%21%18%24%28%29%11%13%
(VOL) Don’t know27%27%29%20%32%31%26%28%22%29%28%28%20%26%
TREND: Registered
voters only
June
2014
April
2014
Feb.
2014
Dec.
2013
Approve48%47%47%37%
Disapprove25%23%20%21%
(VOL) Don’t know27%30%32%43%
Unwtd N

717

690690

698

5. Do you think that Cory Booker should be re-elected, or do you think that it is time to have someone else in office?

 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY IDGENDERAGE

RACE

  

Yes

NoDemIndRepMaleFemale18-3435-5455+WhiteBlack

Hispanic

Should be re-elected44%44%47%62%38%24%45%44%49%45%39%38%65%51%
Time to have someone else in office35%35%31%21%39%54%37%33%30%35%38%41%20%25%
(VOL)  Don’t know21%21%22%17%23%22%18%23%20%19%23%21%15%24%
TREND: Registered voters onlyJune
2014
Feb.
2014
Should be re-elected44%55%
Time to have someone else in office35%33%
(VOL)  Don’t know21%12%
Unwtd N

717

690

[QUESTIONS 6 AND 7 WERE ROTATED]

6. Is your general impression of Cory Booker favorable or unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of him?

 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY IDGENDERAGE

RACE

  

Yes

NoDemIndRepMaleFemale18-3435-5455+WhiteBlack

Hispanic

Favorable43%44%33%54%41%24%44%42%39%45%43%41%56%40%
Unfavorable14%15%8%6%16%24%17%11%8%16%17%18%7%6%
No opinion43%40%59%40%44%51%39%47%53%39%40%41%37%54%
TREND:
Registered voters only
June
2014
Feb.
2014
Feb.
2013*
Sept.
2012*
Favorable44%49%55%49%
Unfavorable15%16%9%13%
No opinion40%36%36%38%
Unwtd N

717

690697

715

*Questions in 2012 & 2013 stated “Newark Mayor Cory Booker”

7. Is your general impression of Jeff Bell favorable or unfavorable, or do you have no opinion of him?

 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY IDGENDERAGE

RACE

  

Yes

NoDemIndRepMaleFemale18-3435-5455+WhiteBlack

Hispanic

Favorable12%12%7%8%8%27%14%9%6%14%14%14%14%3%
Unfavorable6%6%9%8%7%2%6%6%7%7%4%7%5%0%
No opinion83%82%84%84%86%71%80%85%88%79%82%80%82%97%
TREND:
Registered voters only
June
2014
Feb.
2014
Favorable12%4%
Unfavorable6%3%
No opinion82%93%
Unwtd N

717

344

8. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the situation in Iraq, or do you have no opinion on this?

 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY IDGENDERAGE

RACE

  

Yes

NoDemIndRepMaleFemale18-3435-5455+WhiteBlack

Hispanic

Approve30%29%36%47%25%10%27%33%26%32%32%27%41%31%
Disapprove46%49%31%31%50%68%48%43%39%50%47%54%16%42%
No opinion24%22%33%23%25%23%24%23%35%19%20%19%43%27%

9. A question on the health reform bill that was signed into law in 2010, known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. Given what you know about the health reform law, do you have a generally favorable or generally unfavorable opinion of it? [Is that a very or somewhat (favorable/unfavorable) opinion?]

 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY IDGENDERAGE

RACE

  

Yes

NoDemIndRepMaleFemale18-3435-5455+WhiteBlack

Hispanic

Very favorable18%18%17%22%19%7%18%18%17%20%16%13%38%20%
Somewhat favorable24%22%36%34%23%10%24%25%31%22%22%20%30%27%
Somewhat  unfavorable16%15%21%21%11%15%15%17%20%14%14%17%15%17%
Very unfavorable36%39%22%15%42%64%39%34%27%39%41%46%8%27%
No opinion6%6%4%7%5%5%5%6%6%5%7%5%9%9%
TREND:June
2014
April
2014
Dec.
2013
Sept.
2013
Very favorable18%19%16%22%
Somewhat favorable24%26%24%23%
Somewhat unfavorable16%17%20%13%
Very unfavorable36%32%30%27%
(VOL) Don’t know6%5%10%16%
Unwtd N

800

803802

783

The Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from June 25 to June 29, 2014 with a statewide random sample of 800 adult residents, including 586 contacted via live interview on a landline telephone and 214 via live interview on a cell phone.  Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey questionnaire design, data weighting and analysis.  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.

POLL DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)

38% Dem49% Male30% 18-34

62% White

43% Ind51% Female38% 35-54

13% Black

19% Rep 32% 55+

16% Hispanic

   

      9% Asian/Other

Registered Voter Sample (weighted)

37% Dem48% Male23% 18-34

69% White

42% Ind52% Female41% 35-54

12% Black

21% Rep 36% 55+

13% Hispanic

   

      6% Asian/Other

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

Download this Poll Report with crosstabs