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Monmouth University Polling Institute

Obama Ratings Up, Senators Down

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Gov. Christie seen as accomplishing little on public pensions

West Long Branch, N.J. -  After taking a slight dip in May, Pres. Obama's job rating stands above 50% in New Jersey, while the state's two U.S. Senators' ratings have dipped.  The Monmouth University Poll  also found increased support for Obamacare and gay marriage after recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings.  On the state level, few say that Gov. Christie can claim pension reform as a major accomplishment.

Sen. Bob Menendez garners a 37% approve to 36% disapprove rating among all New Jersey residents and a 38% approve to 38% disapprove rating among registered voters.  This marks a slight decline from his May voter rating of 42% approve to 38% disapprove.  This is the first time Menendez does not have a net positive rating among Garden State voters.  The senator's ratings have been dropping since he was indicted on federal corruption charges this spring.  In a February poll taken before the indictment was unsealed, Menendez held a solid 49% approve to 27% disapprove rating among New Jersey voters.

"The corruption indictment appears to be taking a toll on the senator's popularity," said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, N.J.

Sen. Cory Booker earns a 44% approve to 22% disapprove rating among all Garden State residents and a 45% approve to 24% disapprove rating among registered voters.  This is down from the 51% to 21% voter rating he held earlier this year, but still marks a largely net positive rating.

A majority (51%) of New Jersey adults approve of the job Barack Obama is doing and 45% disapprove.  Among registered voters, 52% approve and 46% disapprove.  This is a slight uptick from May, when Garden State voter opinion of the president stood at 48% approve to 46% disapprove, but the current results are slightly lower than February when Obama's rating was 54% to 42%.

"The past couple of weeks have been good for the president, and that is reflected both in his job approval rating and an uptick in support for his signature healthcare policy," said Murray.

Currently, 49% of New Jerseyans have a favorable opinion of the Affordable Care Act and 43% hold an unfavorable view.  This comes after the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to the law.  It also marks the highest positive rating for Obamacare in Monmouth's New Jersey polling going back to 2013.  One year ago, Garden State opinion stood at a net negative 42% favorable and 52% unfavorable.

Another U.S. Supreme Court ruling declared same sex marriage to be legal throughout the country.  New Jersey's courts made this determination nearly two years ago.  Today, fully 7-in-10 (70%) New Jersey residents favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, including nearly half who strongly favor same sex marriage.  Just 21% are opposed.  Support has grown since the federal and state court decisions.  In April 2013, 59% of New Jerseyans favored same sex marriage.

Another court decision with significant implications is the recent New Jersey Supreme Court ruling that struck down the payment schedule in the 2011 pension reform law.  Just 12% of state residents approve of Gov. Christie's decision to forego the full pension payment this year, while 42% disapprove and 46% have no opinion.  Just 11% of New Jerseyans say that Christie can claim major accomplishments in fixing the state's pension system, 31% say he has had only minor accomplishments, and nearly half - 47% - say he has no real pension accomplishments to crow about.

"The governor can't expect the public to see pension reform as one of his major accomplishments after he asked the court to overturn a key provision in his own law," said Murray.

While the pension costs balloon, most New Jerseyans feel the state is obligated to pay those benefits for current workers.  Specifically, 31% say that state workers deserve the pension benefits they have earned no matter the cost and 46% say state worker pension benefits may be too high but we should give them what they were promised.  Only 19% say that pension benefits for current workers are way too high and should be cut.

The poll also asked about the job the state legislature is doing.  Currently, 32% of New Jersey voters approve and 51% disapprove.  This is down from the 33% approve to 48% disapprove rating the legislature received in May.

The Monmouth University Poll  was conducted by telephone with 503 New Jersey adults, including 453 registered voters, from June 30 to July 1, 2015.  The total sample has a margin of error of ±  4.4 percent and the registered voter sample has a margin of error of ±  4.6 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

 

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 the state legislature is doing?
 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER

PARTY ID

   

Yes

No Dem Ind

Rep

Approve 32% 32% 34% 28% 33% 37%
Disapprove 48% 51% 31% 51% 46% 48%
(VOL) Don’t know 20% 17% 35% 20% 21% 15%

 

TREND:
Registered Voters
July
2015
May
2015
Feb.
2015
Sept.
2014
June
2014
April
2014
Feb.
2014
Jan.
2014
Dec.
2013
Sept.
2013
April
2013
Feb.
2013
Dec.
2012
Sept.
2012
July
2012
April
2012
Approve 32% 33% 37% 35% 36% 38% 38% 47% 44% 38% 41% 40% 43% 32% 34% 37%
Disapprove 51% 48% 46% 46% 48% 46% 47% 35% 38% 36% 42% 35% 34% 43% 45% 41%
(VOL) Don’t know 17% 19% 17% 19% 17% 15% 14% 18% 19% 27% 17% 25% 22% 25% 21% 23%
Unwtd N

453

441 712 680 717 690 690 470 698 674 694 697 726 715 678

692

 

TREND:
Registered Voters Continued
Feb.
2012
Oct.
2011
Aug.
2011
May
2011
Feb.
2011
July
2010
April
2010
Feb.
2010
July
2009
Feb.
2009
Sept.
2008
July
2008
April
2008
March
2008
Oct.
2007
Feb.
2007
Approve 34% 33% 35% 32% 29% 25% 19% 24% 31% 23% 29% 27% 28% 25% 32% 34%
Disapprove 42% 45% 48% 48% 45% 49% 57% 49% 48% 55% 50% 47% 55% 53% 43% 42%
(VOL) Don’t know 24% 22% 17% 20% 26% 26% 24% 27% 22% 22% 21% 26% 17% 22% 25% 23%
Unwtd N

709

693 730 725 718 747 719 716 792 721 709 889 720 719 688

681

 

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

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER

PARTY ID

   

Yes

No Dem Ind

Rep

Approve 51% 52% 50% 80% 43% 20%
Disapprove 45% 46% 43% 17% 53% 78%
(VOL) Don’t know 3% 3% 7% 2% 4% 2%

 

TREND:
Registered Voters - Second Term
July
2015
May
2015
Feb.
2015
Sept.
2014
June
2014
April
2014
Feb.
2014
Jan.
2014
Dec.
2013
Sept.
2013
April
2013
Feb.
2013
Approve 52% 48% 54% 41% 45% 49% 49% 44% 47% 50% 55% 60%
Disapprove 46% 46% 42% 54% 51% 47% 47% 50% 47% 41% 42% 33%
(VOL) Don’t know 3% 6% 4% 5% 4% 3% 5% 6% 6% 8% 2% 7%
Unwtd N

453

441 712 680 717 690 690 470 698 674 694

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
Approve 58% 54% 51% 47% 52% 60% 47% 51% 54% 53% 54% 59%
Disapprove 35% 41% 42% 46% 39% 36% 44% 42% 41% 38% 33% 29%
(VOL) Don’t know 6% 5% 6% 7% 9% 4% 9% 6% 5% 9% 14% 12%
Unwtd N

726

692 709 693 730 725 726 747 719 716 785

792

 

[QUESTIONS 3 AND 4 WERE ROTATED]

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

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER

PARTY ID

   

Yes

No Dem Ind

Rep

Approve 37% 38% 31% 47% 34% 27%
Disapprove 36% 38% 21% 21% 39% 55%
(VOL) Don’t know 27% 23% 48% 32% 27% 18%

 

TREND:
Registered voters only
July
2015
May
2015
Feb.
2015
Sept.
2014
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
Approve 38% 42% 49% 45% 47% 51% 49% 47% 44% 41% 40% 41% 43% 38% 46% 38% 34% 41% 37%
Disapprove 38% 38% 27% 30% 34% 31% 30% 27% 38% 31% 25% 26% 29% 33% 28% 33% 25% 31% 25%
(VOL) Don’t know 23% 20% 24% 26% 19% 18% 21% 26% 18% 28% 35% 33% 28% 29% 26% 29% 41% 28% 37%
Unwtd N

453

441 712 680 717 690 690 698 694 697 692 709 693 730 725 747 900 720

698

 

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

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER

PARTY ID

   

Yes

No Dem Ind

Rep

Approve 44% 45% 36% 60% 36% 33%
Disapprove 22% 24% 11% 14% 27% 27%
(VOL) Don’t know 34% 31% 52% 27% 37% 40%

 

TREND:
Registered voters only
July
2015
May
2015
Feb.
2015
Sept.
2014
June
2014
April
2014
Feb.
2014
Dec.
2013
Approve 45% 51% 51% 42% 48% 47% 47% 37%
Disapprove 24% 21% 21% 23% 25% 23% 20% 21%
(VOL) Don’t know 31% 27% 27% 35% 27% 30% 32% 43%
Unwtd N

453

441 712 680 717 690 690

698

 

  1. Do you think Governor Christie has had major accomplishments, only minor accomplishments, or no real accomplishments in fixing the state’s pension system?
 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER

PARTY ID

   

Yes

No Dem Ind

Rep

Major accomplishments 11% 11% 12% 3% 11% 25%
Only minor accomplishments 31% 31% 29% 23% 35% 36%
No real accomplishments 47% 48% 43% 67% 44% 24%
(VOL) Don’t know 11% 10% 16% 7% 11% 15%

 

  1. Thinking about current state workers, which of the following comes closest to your view… state workers deserve the pension benefits they have earned no matter the cost, state worker pension benefits are way too high and should be cut, or state worker pension benefits may be too high but we should give them what they were promised? [CHOICES WERE ROTATED]
 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER

PARTY ID

   

Yes

No Dem Ind

Rep

State workers deserve the pension
benefits they have earned no matter the cost
31% 30% 35% 42% 28% 17%
State worker pension benefits are
way too high and should be cut
19% 20% 15% 5% 24% 36%
State worker pension benefits may be too high
but we should give them what they were promised
46% 46% 48% 52% 43% 44%
(VOL) Don’t know 4% 4% 2% 2% 5% 4%

 

  1. Do you approve or disapprove of Governor Christie’s decision to put off making scheduled payments to the state’s pension system, or do you have no opinion on this?
 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER

PARTY ID

   

Yes

No Dem Ind

Rep

Approve 12% 13% 7% 3% 13% 26%
Disapprove 42% 46% 17% 54% 37% 30%
No opinion 46% 40% 76% 42% 50% 44%

 

TREND: July
2015
June
2014
Approve 12% 13%
Disapprove 42% 38%
No opinion 46% 49%
Unwtd N

503

800

 

  1. Now, a question on the health insurance reforms known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. Given what you know or have heard, do you have a generally favorable or generally unfavorable opinion of this program? [Is that a very or somewhat (favorable/unfavorable) opinion?]
 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER

PARTY ID

   

Yes

No Dem Ind

Rep

Very favorable 23% 23% 28% 43% 16% 5%
Somewhat favorable 26% 26% 29% 34% 25% 18%
Somewhat unfavorable 16% 15% 19% 8% 21% 12%
Very unfavorable 27% 28% 21% 5% 31% 58%
(VOL) Don’t know 8% 9% 3% 9% 7% 6%

 

TREND: July
2015
Sept.
2014
June
2014
April
2014
Dec.
2013
Sept.
2013
Very favorable 23% 17% 18% 19% 16% 22%
Somewhat favorable 26% 28% 24% 26% 24% 23%
Somewhat unfavorable 16% 15% 16% 17% 20% 13%
Very unfavorable 27% 31% 36% 32% 30% 27%
No opinion 8% 8% 6% 5% 10% 16%
Unwtd N

503

802 800 803 802

783

Question wording of polls prior to Sept. 2014 “A question on the health reform bill that was signed into law in 2010, known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.”

 

  1. On another issue, do you favor or oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally? [Do you (favor/oppose) it strongly or somewhat?]
 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER

PARTY ID

   

Yes

No Dem Ind

Rep

Favor, strongly 48% 46% 55% 61% 44% 34%
Favor, somewhat 22% 23% 17% 17% 24% 31%
Oppose, somewhat 4% 4% 3% 4% 3% 6%
Oppose, strongly 17% 17% 19% 14% 18% 20%
(VOL) Don’t know 9% 10% 6% 5% 11% 9%

 

TREND: July
2015
April
2013
Feb.
2012
Feb.
2009
Oct.
2007*
June
2006*
Sept.
2003*
Favor 70% 59% 52% 48% 48% 50% 43%
Oppose 21% 31% 34% 43% 45% 44% 50%
(VOL) Don’t know 9% 9% 15% 10% 8% 6% 7%
Unwtd N

503

806 803 402 1002 803

802

* Source:  Eagleton-Rutgers Poll

 

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from June 30 to July 1, 2015 with a statewide random sample of 503 adult residents, including 377 contacted via live interview on a landline telephone and 126 via live interview on a cell phone, in English.  Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey questionnaire design, data weighting and analysis.  Final sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information.  Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and SSI (RDD sample).  For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design).  Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below).  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)

35% Dem 48% Male 28% 18-34

63% White

45% Ind 52% Female 38% 35-54

13% Black

20% Rep   34% 55+

15% Hispanic

     

      9% Asian/Other

Registered Voter Sample (weighted)

36% Dem 48% Male 21% 18-34

65% White

43% Ind 52% Female 42% 35-54

13% Black

21% Rep   36% 55+

14% Hispanic

     

      8% Asian/Other

 

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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