UNION, N.J. – If Hillary Clinton decides to run for president in 2016, New Jersey’s Democratic voters will be in her corner, according to the latest Kean University / NJ Speaks poll released today. Sixty-seven percent of self-identified Democrats said they would support Mrs. Clinton in the next presidential campaign. Vice President Joe Biden finished a distant second, with 13 percent. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo won the support of 8 percent. Several days ago, the press reported that Governor Cuomo has told allies that he will not run for president in 2016 if Mrs. Clinton runs because of her evident strength among Democrats.
“There’s a sense that the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination is Hillary Clinton’s for the asking,” said Dr. Terry Golway, director of the Kean University Center for History, Politics, and Policy. “This poll of New Jersey Democrats certainly confirms that thinking.”
On the G.O.P. side, 41 percent of the state’s Republicans said they would support Chris Christie in 2016. Florida Senator Marco Rubio placed second with 18 percent.
The Governor’s approval rating continues to dazzle. Seventy-one percent of the poll’s 1,000 respondents said they either strongly approved or somewhat approved of the Governor’s performance. The Governor’s popularity cuts across party, ideology, and race. Sixty-one percent of Democrats approve of his performance, as do 66 percent of African Americans, 61 percent of self-identified liberals, and 72 percent of moderates.
The Governor’s presumed Democratic challenger, state Senator Barbara Buono of Middlesex County, remains unknown to many voters. Sixty-four percent of respondents said they were either not very familiar or not at all familiar with Senator Buono. By contrast, only 4 percent said they were unfamiliar with Governor Christie.
Eighty-eight percent said that the state’s response to Hurricane Sandy would be an important issue as they consider their choice for governor in the fall.
On a series of policy questions, 56 percent of respondents said they support immigration reform leading to a path to citizenship, 82 percent support criminal background checks before gun sales, 64 percent said that they believe violent movies, television shows and video games contribute to violence in society, and 74 percent said that society is more violent today than it was 25 years ago. The poll surveyed 1,000 likely voters in New Jersey, and was conducted April 25 and 29. To view the complete poll results click here.