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Obama Opens Up Large Lead in Jersey

Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008

Democrat inspires more confidence, has better temperament

Barack Obama has opened up a wide lead over John McCain among New Jersey voters according to the latest Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll .  The Democrat leads by 54% to 35% among all registered voters and has a similar 55% to 38% advantage among those most likely to vote on November 4.  Obama has doubled the 8 point lead he held among likely voters last month.  Importantly, very few Obama voters indicate that they are likely to change their minds before election day.

The Democrat’s gains came largely from a 16 point swing among men and further solidification of his popularity among young voters.  Currently, Obama is the choice of male voters by 52% to 37%, up from a 45%-46% deficit in September.  Female voters prefer Obama by 55% to 32%, which is basically unchanged from last month.

The Illinois senator, who has consistently been ahead among young voters, now holds a 71% to 20% lead among voters under age 35, up from 54%-30% in September.  He also leads among white voters in the Garden State by a slim 46%-43% margin.  In September, McCain had a 48%-43% advantage among this group.

“We have reached the tipping point in this race, with nearly half of the state’s voters saying they are very sure they will vote for Obama,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.  “At this point, it would take an October surprise of astronomical proportions to turn New Jersey from blue to red.”

Following the third and final debate of this campaign, of which many observers remarked on Senator McCain’s demeanor, more New Jersey voters see Obama as having a good temperament to be president (71%) than say the same about the Republican nominee (43%).

More New Jersey voters prefer Obama to handle the economy by a 54% to 33% margin, increasing his advantage on this issue from 13 points in September to 21 points now.  Also, 68% of voters say they are confident in Obama’s ability to handle the current financial crisis, compared to 53% who say the same of McCain.

The Democrat also enjoys advantages on caring about average people (68%-40%), being an agent of change (61%-33%), having a clear plan (58%-35%), being a strong and decisive leader (58%-54%), and having good judgment in a crisis (57%-54%).  McCain retains an advantage only on experience (63%-48%).  However, the Democrat has made net gains in all these qualities since last month.

The poll also found that the Republican ticket’s favorability ratings among New Jersey voters have declined in the past month.  John McCain is now viewed favorably by 44% (down from 49%) and unfavorably by 40% (up from 34%).  This is still better than his vice presidential choice, Sarah Palin, who now has an upside down 36%-45% favorability rating, after registering a positive 42%-32% rating in September.

For the Democratic ticket, Barack Obama’s favorability rating remains steady at 62%-23%.  Veep candidate Joe Biden’s rating stands at a similar 58%-23%, which is up from 47%-21% in September.

The dip in the GOP candidates’ ratings may be a byproduct of the ads run during this campaign.  New Jersey voters split on whether the tone of this campaign has been more positive (40%) or negative (40%).  Among those who feel the race has been negative, many more blame McCain (49%) than Obama (13%), with another 37% saying both candidates have been equally negative.

Despite the mixed views on the campaign’s tone, voter enthusiasm remains high, particularly among Democrats.  Currently, 68% of voters say they are more enthusiastic than usual about voting compared to only 17% who say they are less enthusiastic.  The partisan enthusiasm gap, which narrowed slightly in September, now clearly favors the Obama ticket – 82% of Democratic-identifying voters say they are more enthusiastic than usual.  This compares to 58% of Republicans and 61% of independents who feel the same.

The Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll  was conducted by telephone with 900 New Jersey registered voters October 15-18, 2008.  This sample has a margin of error of

±  3.3 percent.  This report also includes analysis on a smaller group of 723 “likely voters” with a ±  3.7 percent margin of error.   The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute and originally published by the Gannett New Jersey newspaper group (Asbury Park Press, 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. As you may know, there will be an election for President in November. How much interest do you have in the upcoming election – a lot, some, a little, or none at all?

  Registered
Voters
Likely
Voters
PARTY IDGENDER AGE
  Dem IndRepMaleFemale18-3435-54 55+
A lot85%98%92%77%90%87%83%78%90%85%
Some10%2%6%13%8%7%11%12%9%9%
A little3%0%2%6%1%3%4%7%1%4%
None at all2%0%0%3%1%3%1%2%1%3%
(VOL) Don’t know0%0%0%1%1%0%1%0%1%0%
Unwtd N 900 723343331204432468158395 331
TREND: Oct
2008
Sept
2008
July
2008
April
2008
A lot85%83%76%76%
Some10%11%16%13%
A little3%3%6%9%
None at all2%3%2%3%
(VOL) Don’t know0%0%0%0%
Unwtd N 900 689874 720

2. If the election for President was held today, would you vote for John McCain the Republican, Barack Obama the Democrat, or some other candidate? [IF UNDECIDED: At this moment do you lean more towards McCain or more towards Obama?] [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

(with leaners) Registered
Voters
Likely
Voters
PARTY IDGENDER AGE
Dem IndRepMaleFemale18-3435-54 55+
McCain35%38%4%38%85%37%32%20%38%43%
Obama54%55%92%43%10%52%55%71%49%47%
Other1%1%0%3%0%2%0%1%1%1%
(VOL) Won’t vote1%0%0%1%0%1%0%1%1%0%
(VOL) Undecided10%6%4%15%4%7%11%7%11%8%
Unwtd N 900 723343331204432468158395 331
TREND: October 2008 September 2008 July 2008
Registered
Voters
Likely
Voters
Registered
Voters
Likely
Voters
Registered
Voters
Likely
Voters
McCain35%38%38%41%34%36%
Obama54%55%49%49%48%50%
Oth1%1%2%0%3%2%
(VOL) Won’t vote1%0%1%0%0%0%
(VOL) Undecided10%6%11%10%14%12%
Unwtd N 900 723689589874 698

Composite Table: Strength of Vote Choice

2-4. If the election for President was held today, would you vote for [ROTATE] John McCain the Republican, Barack Obama the Democrat, or some other candidate?
At this moment do you lean more towards McCain or more towards Obama?
Are you very sure about voting for [Name]; or might you change your mind before Election Day?

TREND: October 2008 September 2008 July 2008
Registered
Voters
Likely
Voters
Registered
Voters
Likely
Voters
Registered
Voters
Likely
Voters
Sure McCain28%32%30%33%24%28%
Weak McCain2%1%3%3%4%4%
Lean McCain5%5%5%5%6%5%
Undecided- Other11%7%13%10%17%13%
Lean Obama5%4%6%5%6%5%
Weak Obama3%2%7%6%7%7%
Sure Obama46%49%36%38%36%38%
Unwtd N 900 723689589874 698
        

[QUESTIONS 5, 6, 7, AND 8 WERE ROTATED]

5. Please tell me if your general impression of Barack Obama is favorable or unfavorable, or if you don’t really have an opinion.

 

Registered
Voters

Likely
Voters
PARTY IDGENDER

AGE

 

Dem

IndRepMaleFemale18-3435-54

55+

Favorable62%62%93%55%24%60%64%78%58%55%
Unfavorable23%26%2%23%61%26%21%14%25%28%
No opinion15%11%5%21%15%14%15%9%17%16%
Unwtd N

900

723343331204432468158395

331

  TREND:

Oct
2008

Sept
2008
July
2008

April
2008

Favorable62%60%56%58%
Unfavorable23%23%19%27%
No opinion15%17%26%15%
Unwtd N

900

689874

720

6. Please tell me if your general impression of John McCain is favorable or unfavorable, or if you don’t really have an opinion.

 

Registered
Voters

Likely
Voters
PARTY IDGENDER

AGE

 

Dem

IndRepMaleFemale18-3435-54

55+

Favorable44%45%13%53%86%47%41%34%44%51%
Unfavorable40%43%70%29%6%38%42%49%38%36%
No opinion16%11%17%18%8%15%18%17%19%13%
Unwtd N

900

723343331204432468158395

331

  TREND:

Oct
2008

Sept
2008
July
2008

April
2008

Favorable44%49%48%39%
Unfavorable40%34%25%45%
No opinion16%17%27%16%
Unwtd N

900

689874

720

7. Please tell me if your general impression of Joe Biden is favorable or unfavorable, or if you don’t really have an opinion.

 

Registered
Voters

Likely
Voters
PARTY IDGENDER

AGE

 

Dem

IndRepMaleFemale18-3435-54

55+

Favorable58%60%82%53%27%55%60%63%55%57%
Unfavorable23%25%3%23%56%27%19%15%25%26%
No opinion20%14%14%23%17%18%20%22%20%17%
Unwtd N

900

723343331204432468158395

331

  TREND:

Oct
2008

Sept
2008

Favorable58%47%
Unfavorable23%21%
No opinion20%32%
Unwtd N

900

689

8. Please tell me if your general impression of Sarah Palin is favorable or unfavorable, or if you don’t really have an opinion.

 

Registered
Voters

Likely
Voters
PARTY IDGENDER

AGE

 

Dem

IndRepMaleFemale18-3435-54

55+

Favorable36%39%10%40%80%39%34%24%38%45%
Unfavorable45%47%73%40%9%44%47%56%42%42%
No opinion18%13%17%20%11%16%20%20%21%13%
Unwtd N

900

723343331204432468158395

331

  TREND:

Oct
2008

Sept
2008

Favorable36%42%
Unfavorable45%32%
No opinion18%26%
Unwtd N

900

689

9. Regardless of which presidential candidate you support, please tell me if you think Barack Obama or John McCain would better handle the issue of the economy?

 

Registered
Voters

Likely
Voters
PARTY IDGENDER

AGE

 

Dem

IndRepMaleFemale18-3435-54

55+

Obama better54%55%91%42%11%53%54%70%50%45%
McCain better33%35%5%35%81%35%31%18%35%43%
(VOL) Both equally3%2%1%4%3%2%3%3%2%3%
(VOL) Neither4%3%1%8%2%3%5%3%6%3%
(VOL) Don’t Know7%4%2%11%3%6%8%5%8%6%
Unwtd N

900

723343331204432468158395

331

  TREND:

Oct
2008

Sept
2008

Obama better54%50%
McCain better33%37%
(VOL) Both equally3%3%
(VOL) Neither4%3%
(VOL) Don’t Know7%7%
Unwtd N

900

689

10. Now, thinking about the following characteristics and qualities, please say whether you think each one applies more to Obama or more to McCain, or to both equally. [ITEMS WERE ROTATED]

Is a strong and decisive leader

 

Registered
Voters

Likely
Voters
PARTY IDGENDER

AGE

 

Dem

IndRepMaleFemale18-3435-54

55+

Obama more40%42%70%29%8%37%43%51%36%38%
McCain more36%38%8%40%81%40%33%20%39%46%
Both equally18%17%19%22%10%19%17%23%19%12%
(VOL) Neither2%1%1%4%0%2%2%4%2%1%
(VOL) Don’t Know4%2%2%5%1%2%5%2%4%4%
Unwtd N

900

723343331204432468158395

331

  TREND:

Oct
2008

Sept
2008

Obama more40%34%
McCain more36%40%
Both equally18%19%
(VOL) Neither2%1%
(VOL) Don’t Know4%5%
Unwtd N

900

689

Cares about people like you

 

Registered
Voters

Likely
Voters
PARTY IDGENDER

AGE

 

Dem

IndRepMaleFemale18-3435-54

55+

Obama more51%52%86%38%14%48%54%64%47%46%
McCain more23%27%2%23%63%24%23%11%24%33%
Both equally17%15%9%27%13%19%15%15%19%13%
(VOL) Neither6%6%1%9%8%8%4%8%6%4%
(VOL) Don’t Know3%1%1%3%3%1%4%2%3%4%
Unwtd N

900

723343331204432468158395

331

  TREND:Oct
2008
Sept
2008
Obama more51%44%
McCain more23%23%
Both equally17%23%
(VOL) Neither6%5%
(VOL) Don’t Know3%4%
Unwtd N

900

689

Would display good judgment in a crisis

 

Registered
Voters

Likely
Voters
PARTY IDGENDER

AGE

 

Dem

IndRepMaleFemale18-3435-54

55+

Obama more40%43%72%29%8%38%43%50%38%36%
McCain more37%37%8%40%83%40%34%25%39%43%
Both equally17%17%17%23%8%18%17%20%18%15%
(VOL) Neither2%1%1%3%0%1%2%3%1%1%
(VOL) Don’t Know4%2%2%6%1%2%5%3%4%5%
Unwtd N

900

723343331204432468158395

331

  TREND:

Oct
2008

Sept
2008

Obama more40%34%
McCain more37%39%
Both equally17%21%
(VOL) Neither2%1%
(VOL) Don’t Know4%5%
Unwtd N

900

689

Has a clear plan for solving the country’s problems

 

Registered
Voters

Likely
Voters
PARTY IDGENDER

AGE

 

Dem

IndRepMaleFemale18-3435-54

55+

Obama more45%46%79%35%8%46%44%56%43%40%
McCain more22%24%2%20%62%21%22%11%21%32%
Both equally13%13%11%16%10%14%12%15%15%10%
(VOL) Neither15%14%6%20%20%15%15%15%16%13%
(VOL) Don’t Know5%3%2%9%1%3%6%3%5%6%
Unwtd N

900

723343331204432468158395

331

  TREND:

Oct
2008

Sept
2008

Obama more45%37%
McCain more22%27%
Both equally13%18%
(VOL) Neither15%11%
(VOL) Don’t Know5%8%
Unwtd N

900

689

Has the right experience to be president

 

Registered
Voters

Likely
Voters
PARTY IDGENDER

AGE

 

Dem

IndRepMaleFemale18-3435-54

55+

Obama more29%31%56%17%4%24%33%36%27%27%
McCain more44%44%13%53%87%47%41%33%46%51%
Both equally19%19%23%21%8%21%17%24%19%14%
(VOL) Neither4%3%5%5%1%5%4%4%4%5%
(VOL) Don’t Know4%3%4%4%1%2%5%4%4%3%
Unwtd N

900

723343331204432468158395

331

  TREND:

Oct
2008

Sept
2008

Obama more29%24%
McCain more44%49%
Both equally19%18%
(VOL) Neither4%4%
(VOL) Don’t Know4%5%
Unwtd N

900

689

Can bring about the kind of change the country needs

 

Registered
Voters

Likely
Voters
PARTY IDGENDER

AGE

 

Dem

IndRepMaleFemale18-3435-54

55+

Obama more54%56%90%42%15%54%54%71%50%47%
McCain more26%29%3%27%67%27%26%13%28%36%
Both equally7%6%3%12%6%8%7%4%8%9%
(VOL) Neither8%7%2%12%10%8%7%10%8%5%
(VOL) Don’t Know4%3%1%6%2%3%5%2%5%4%
Unwtd N

900

723343331204432468158395

331

  TREND:

Oct
2008

Sept
2008

Obama more54%51%
McCain more26%26%
Both equally7%13%
(VOL) Neither8%5%
(VOL) Don’t Know4%5%
Unwtd N

900

689

Has a good temperament to be president

 

Registered
Voters

Likely
Voters
PARTY IDGENDER

AGE

 

Dem

IndRepMaleFemale18-3435-54

55+

Obama more51%54%84%40%16%51%52%60%51%46%
McCain more23%26%4%22%62%23%24%14%23%33%
Both equally20%18%11%31%20%22%19%23%20%18%
(VOL) Neither2%1%0%4%0%2%1%3%2%0%
(VOL) Don’t Know3%1%1%4%1%1%5%2%4%3%
Unwtd N

900

723343331204432468158395

331

11. So far, would you characterize the presidential race as being generally positive or negative?

 

Registered
Voters

Likely
Voters
PARTY IDGENDER

AGE

 

Dem

IndRepMaleFemale18-3435-54

55+

Positive40%38%44%41%32%40%40%47%38%38%
Negative40%42%34%43%45%42%37%34%43%38%
(VOL) Both13%14%17%9%13%12%14%14%12%15%
(VOL) Neither3%3%2%1%6%3%3%3%3%3%
(VOL) Don’t Know5%4%2%6%4%4%5%2%4%7%
Unwtd N

900

723343331204432468158395

331

  TREND:

Oct
2008

Sept
2008

Positive40%52%
Negative40%35%
(VOL) Both13%7%
(VOL) Neither3%2%
(VOL) Don’t know5%4%
Unwtd N

900

689

[The following question was asked only of those who said “Negative” or “Both” to Q11, moe= ± 4.4%]

12. Who has been more negative – Obama or McCain, or both equally?

  TREND:

Oct
2008

Sept
2008

Obama13%18%
McCain49%37%
Both37%42%
(VOL) Don’t know2%4%
Unwtd N

508

312

13. How closely have you been following the campaign for president so far – very closely, somewhat closely, or not very closely?

 

Registered
Voters

Likely
Voters
PARTY IDGENDER

AGE

 

Dem

IndRepMaleFemale18-3435-54

55+

Very closely66%77%72%57%74%68%65%52%71%71%
Somewhat closely31%22%27%37%25%30%31%44%26%26%
Not very closely3%0%0%5%1%2%3%3%3%3%
(VOL) Don’t Know0%0%0%1%0%0%1%1%1%0%
Unwtd N

900

723343331204432468158395

331

  TREND:

Oct
2008

Sept
2008
July
2008

April
2008

Very closely66%62%51%50%
Somewhat closely31%33%39%43%
Not very closely3%4%10%7%
Unwtd N

0%

689874

720

14. Compared to past elections, are you more enthusiastic than usual about voting, or less enthusiastic?

 

Registered
Voters

Likely
Voters
PARTY IDGENDER

AGE

 

Dem

IndRepMaleFemale18-3435-54

55+

More enthusiastic68%71%82%61%58%70%66%72%66%66%
Less enthusiastic17%15%6%22%26%16%18%10%19%21%
(VOL) Same13%13%11%14%15%14%13%15%13%13%
(VOL) Don’t Know2%1%0%2%0%1%3%3%2%1%
Unwtd N

900

723343331204432468158395

331

  TREND:

Oct
2008

Sept
2008

July
2008

More enthusiastic68%67%50%
Less enthusiastic17%17%29%
(VOL) Same13%15%19%
(VOL) Don’t know2%1%2%
Unwtd N

900

689

874

15. How confident are you in the ability of each of the following to handle the current financial crisis: very confident, somewhat confident, not very confident, or not confident at all?   [ITEMS WERE ROTATED]

Barack Obama

 

Registered
Voters

Likely
Voters
PARTY IDGENDER

AGE

 

Dem

IndRepMaleFemale18-3435-54

55+

Very confident35%37%67%21%7%34%36%48%33%29%
Somewhat confident33%31%27%44%27%36%31%33%33%33%
Not very confident12%12%3%13%28%10%14%6%14%15%
Not at all confident15%17%1%16%35%16%14%8%16%18%
(VOL) Don’t Know5%3%2%6%3%4%5%4%5%4%
Unwtd N

900

723343331204432468158395

331

John McCain

 

Registered
Voters

Likely
Voters
PARTY IDGENDER

AGE

 

Dem

IndRepMaleFemale18-3435-54

55+

Very confident17%20%3%16%45%15%18%7%18%24%
Somewhat confident36%32%24%45%45%41%32%43%34%35%
Not very confident17%17%26%16%6%15%20%17%21%12%
Not at all confident26%29%46%18%4%26%26%31%23%27%
(VOL) Don’t Know3%2%2%4%1%2%4%2%4%3%
Unwtd N

900

723343331204432468158395

331

The Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll was conducted and analyzed by the Monmouth University Polling Institute research staff.  The telephone interviews were collected by Braun Research on October 15-18, 2008 with a statewide random sample of 900 registered voters. For results based on this voter sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.3 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

Registered Voter Sample (weighted)

40% Dem47% Male26% 18-34

68% White

37% Ind53% Female43% 35-54

13% Black

23% Rep 31% 55+

11% Hispanic

   

8% Asian/Other

Likely Voter Sample (weighted)

42% Dem48% Male22% 18-34

70% White

32% Ind52% Female46% 35-54

13% Black

26% Rep 32% 55+

11% 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