NEW NJ SPEAKS POLL: NATION ON WRONG TRACK BUT VOTERS DON’T BLAME OBAMA

Kean University Survey of 1000 Adults in New Jersey Conducted October 17, 2012

How closely have you been following the ongoing presidential campaign -- very closely, somewhat closely, not very closely or not at all?

70% Very closely
24% Somewhat closely
4% Not very closely
1% Not at all
1% Not sure

How likely are you to vote in this November’s Presidential Election – very likely, somewhat likely, not very likely or not at all likely?

94% Very likely
4% Somewhat likely
1% Not very likely
1% Not at all likely
0% Not sure

What is your main source of political news -- print newspapers, radio and television, internet sources, or you don’t follow political news?

15% Print newspapers
63% Radio and television
20% Internet sources
1% Don’t follow political news
1% Not sure

Do you pay attention to television advertisements for political candidates?

32% Yes
62% No
6% Not sure

Do you think political campaigns are too negative, not negative enough, or are just about right.

66% Too negative
7% Not negative enough
21% If just about right
6% Not sure

Generally speaking, would you say that things in this country are heading in the right direction or have they gotten off on the wrong track?

43% Right direction
52% Wrong track
5% Not sure

Generally speaking, would you say that things in New Jersey are heading in the right direction or have they gotten off on the wrong track?

48% Right direction
41% Wrong track
11% Not sure

How would you rate the job Barack Obama has been doing as President… do you strongly approve, somewhat approve, somewhat disapprove, or strongly disapprove of the job he’s been doing?

37% Strongly approve
17% Somewhat approve
5% Somewhat disapprove
40% Strongly disapprove
0% Not sure

Following 2 Questions Answered by 18 Adults Not Likely to Vote
Why will you not vote in November – is it that you dislike both presidential candidates, you are too busy, you don’t think your vote matters, you dislike politics, or some other reason?

10% Dislike both presidential candidates
15% Too busy
20% Don’t think your vote matters
4% Dislike politics
51% Some other reason
0% Not sure

Would you be more likely to vote if you could vote by mail or if Election Day were on a Saturday or Sunday?

23% More likely
15% Less likely
52% Would not make a difference
11% Not sure

Following 3 Questions Answered by 973 Adults Likely to Vote
Have the campaigns run by the two candidates influenced your vote, or was your mind made up before the campaign?

46% Campaign definitely influenced your choice
49% Mind was made up before the campaign
5% Not sure

Did you watch any of the presidential debates?

90% Yes
9% No
1% Not sure

Did the debates cause you to reconsider your vote?

20% Yes
76% No
3% Not Sure

 

The unemployment rate may be down to its lowest level in several years, the world’s master terrorist has been dead for more than a year, and the United States has ended one war (Iraq) and is preparing to draw down another (Afghanistan). 

But New Jerseyans don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. 

According to Kean University’s latest NJ Speaks poll, 52 percent of respondents said they believe the country is on the wrong track. That anxiety might be bad news for any incumbent seeking re-election, but respondents  are not prepared to blame Barack Obama for the nation’s difficulties. Fifty-four percent said they either strongly approve or somewhat approve of the president’s performance. Forty-five percent said they did not approve of the incumbent – and many were adamant on the subject. Five percent said they somewhat disapproved of the president, but fully 40 percent said they strongly disapproved. 

“The president’s detractors are not shy about their opinions,” noted Dr. Terry Golway, director of the Kean University Center for History, Politics, and Policy. “Then again, George W. Bush’s critics didn’t exactly suffer in silence, either.”

While commentators, voters, and even the candidates themselves often lament the length and tediousness of presidential campaigns, the NJ Speaks survey shows that likely voters have been following the race closely, mostly through traditional media outlets, although they are sick of negative campaigning.

Ninety-four percent of respondents said they have followed the campaign very closely or somewhat closely. Seventy-eight percent said they get their news about politics from traditional newspapers, television or radio; 20 percent said they get their political fix from the internet.

Sixty-two percent said they don’t pay attention to television ads for candidates; perhaps not coincidentally, 66 percent that political campaigns are too negative. 

Respondents were more sanguine about New Jersey. Forty-eight percent said the state is on the right track, with 41 percent disagreeing.

Twenty percent of respondents said the presidential debates led them to reconsider how they were planning to vote. The breakdown by party was about even – about 18 percent of Republicans said the debate led them to think twice about their vote, as did 17 percent of Democrats. “The debates certainly didn’t change the views of those who already had made up their minds,” said Dr. Golway. “But for those who were still open to persuasion, the debates clearly had an impact, and that’s good for democracy.”

Forty-nine percent of respondents said they had made up their minds about their vote even before the campaign started. But 46 percent said the campaign had influenced their decision.

The NJ Speaks survey of 1,000 likely voters in New Jersey was taken on October 17, before the final debate. 

Although the sample included only likely voters, a small number – 18 respondents – said they actually were unlikely to vote this year. Twenty percent of those said they didn’t believe their vote mattered this year. Slightly more than half said that mail-in ballots or a change in Election Day to a weekend would not change their decision to stay at home.

Fuller details about the NJ Speaks poll follow.

The margin of sampling error for the full sample is plus or minus percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.