Pres. Barack Obama's job rating has hit an all-time low in New Jersey, driven primarily by a decline among women. The Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll also recorded a drop in Sen. Cory Booker's job approval rating as he mounts his re-election bid. Sen. Bob Menendez's ratings are softer but basically stable.
Currently, 45% of New Jersey adults approve of the job Pres. Obama is doing and 50% disapprove. Among registered voters in the Garden State, just 41% approve compared to 54% who disapprove. This marks the president's lowest approval rating in a statewide Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll since Obama took office in 2009. In June he received a 45% approve to 51% disapprove rating among the state's voters, which was similar to his previous low of 44% approve to 50% disapprove recorded in January of this year. The partisan breakdown of Obama's rating is 72% approve to 23% disapprove among New Jersey Democrats, 39% approve to 53% disapprove among independents, and 7% approve to 91% disapprove among Republicans.
This poll also marks the very first time that New Jersey women register a net negative opinion of the president. Obama's rating among women in the state currently stands at 44% approve to 50% disapprove, compared to the net positive 50% approve to 46% disapprove rating he received in June. This shift has narrowed the gender gap for the president's New Jersey rating. Currently, 45% of Garden State men approve of Obama's job performance and 49% disapprove. These numbers are similar to the ratings given by New Jersey women in the current poll and are basically the same as ratings given by men in June (46% approve to 50% disapprove).
"The bottom line is that a decidedly negative shift among women has brought the president's job rating to an all-time low in New Jersey," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
At the same time, the poll found a very slight uptick in public approval of the president's signature domestic policy, the Affordable Care Act. New Jersey residents register a split decision on the health coverage program which started enrolling participants a year ago next month - 45% have a favorable opinion and 46% have an unfavorable opinion. This is slightly, although not significantly, better than the net negative opinion recorded this past summer when it stood at 42% favorable to 52% unfavorable.
The poll also tracked public opinion of the job New Jersey's two U.S. Senators are doing. Cory Booker is currently mounting a re-election bid after winning a special election last year to fill the remainder of the late Frank Lautenberg's term. The poll finds that Booker's positive job ratings have declined over the past few months while his negative ratings have remained steady as some voters have shifted into the undecided category. Overall, Booker's job performance receives a 44% approve to 21% disapprove rating among all New Jersey adults and a 42% approve to 23% disapprove rating among registered voters. A full one-third (35%) of voters have no opinion on the job Booker is doing. In June, the state's voters gave Booker a 48% approve to 25% disapprove rating, with 27% registering no opinion. Booker's current net positive rating of 19 points ( approve minus disapprove ) is slightly lower than the net positive 23 point rating he received in June.
Booker's rating among his fellow Democrats stands at 58% approve, 14% disapprove and 29% no opinion. Among independents it is 40% approve, 22% disapprove and 38% no opinion. Among Republicans it is 24% approve, 35% disapprove and 41% no opinion.
"It doesn't appear that voters have turned on Booker, but the increase in those unsure of his job performance provides a savvy opponent with an opening to try to recast the incumbent's image," said Murray. [ Note: the poll interviews were conducted before the Booker campaign went on the air last week with its first major television ad buy. ]
At the same time that Booker's ratings have declined, public views of the state's senior senator, Bob Menendez, have remained basically stable. Currently, 45% of New Jersey adult residents approve of Menendez's job performance and 27% disapprove, while 28% have no opinion. Among registered voters in the Garden State, 45% approve, 30% disapprove and 26% have no opinion. In June, voter opinion stood at 47% approve to 34% disapprove with 19% registering no opinion. Menendez's current net positive rating of 15 points is similar to the 13 point net positive rating he received in June.
The Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll was conducted by telephone with 802 New Jersey adults, including 680 registered voters, from September 17 to 21, 2014. The total sample has a margin of error of ± 3.5 percent and the registered voter sample has a margin of error of ± 3.8 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).
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 Bob Menendez is doing as United States Senator?
3. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Cory Booker is doing as United States Senator?
4. A question on the health insurance reforms known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare that went into effect last year. 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?]
The Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from September 17 to 21, 2014 with a statewide random sample of 802 adult residents, including 602 contacted via live interview on a landline telephone and 200 via live interview on a cell phone. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey questionnaire design, data weighting and analysis. Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and SSI (RDD sample). 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.
Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups.
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