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Obama Widens Lead in New Jersey Over Romney

The latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll has the president increasing his lead over Mitt Romney in New Jersey.

On the eve of tonight’s first presidential debate, likely New Jersey voters give President Barack Obama a 17-point lead over former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney — a three-point increase since August.

According to a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, 56 percent of New Jersey voters say they prefer Obama while 39 percent support Romney. Another 2 percent would like to see someone else, and only 4 percent are undecided.

Reflecting a national trend since the Democratic convention, voters have become slightly more positive about Obama over the past month: 56 percent now hold a favorable impression, up two points since August, while 39 percent view him unfavorably, unchanged over the past month. During the same time, voters have become increasingly negative about Romney. While 38 percent continue to view him favorably, 54 percent are now unfavorable, up five points from August.

The “economy and jobs” remains the most important election issue by far, named by 56 percent of voters. The president continues to be seen as better able to manage the economy with a 52 percent to 43 percent edge over the challenger. Many fewer voters (10 percent) pick the federal budget deficit as most important, followed by education at 9 percent and “Social Security and Medicare” at 6 percent. Romney holds nearly a 3 to 1 edge (66 percent to 23 percent) among voters who name the budget as the most important issue.

“This poll reflects recent national trends,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers University. “Romney’s missteps on Libya and his ‘47 percent’ comments may have had effects, though he was already well behind here. We’ve also seen a pickup in voters who say they are Democrats, which is reflected in the poll’s partisan makeup. More people calling themselves Democrats means higher Obama numbers.”

The results are from a poll of 790 registered voters conducted statewide among both landline and cell phone households from Sept. 27 to Sept. 30. Within this sample, 645 respondents are identified as likely voters and are the subjects of this release. The likely voter sample has a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percentage points.

Obama Increases large Lead

Obama’s increased lead is due to several factors. Voters have become more likely to self-identify as Democrats, 95 percent of whom now support Obama. Romney, too, has solidified support among his party, as 94 percent of Republicans are now in his camp, up 11 points since August. Undecided voters and those wishing for another choice have dropped by half, as only 6 percent of likely voters cannot choose between the challenger and incumbent, with the president gaining a larger share of formerly undecided voters.

Most importantly, men have become more supportive of Obama. He now leads among men, 53 percent to 42 percent, compared to a 45 percent to 42 percent lead a month ago. Women remain stronger supporters, with 58 percent for Obama, and 36 percent for Romney, but the previously wide gender gap has closed considerably in recent weeks.

More independents are supporting Obama than when last polled. Romney also gained among this group, as fewer independents remain undecided. Obama now leads among independents, 47 percent to 39 percent, compared to 44 percent to 36 percent last month.

“The president’s improving numbers among men, combined with the fact that more younger voters, women and minority voters are entering the likely voter pool than last month, accounts for much of his gain in New Jersey,” said Redlawsk. “If groups that traditionally support the president are increasingly likely to vote, then his position in New Jersey is probably not at risk.”

White voters favor Romney by a single point, 47 percent to 46 percent. Nonwhite voters overwhelmingly prefer Obama and comprise nearly 30 percent of likely voters. The Republican holds a seven-point lead among Catholics and a five-point edge among likely voters 65 or older. In contrast, more than half of voters in all other age groups support Obama, with those ages 18 to 34 and 50 to 64 most likely to vote for him, at 63 percent and 62 percent respectively.

Regionally, voters in the shore and exurban counties of New Jersey are stronger Romney supporters, by 11 points and 25 points, respectively. Urban, suburban and south Jersey voters are all strong for Obama, with urban voters overwhelming for the president.

Democratic Ticket Still More Likeable

Likely voters are more positive about Obama personally and more negative about Romney than a month ago. While 56 percent of all likely voters have a favorable impression of Obama, he does not do as well among independents (48 percent). Romney does slightly better among independents at 40 percent favorable, than he does overall (38 percent), a 4-point improvement among independents since August. Romney also receives a huge favorability boost from his own party —90 percent of Republicans now have a favorable impression of him, compared to just 78 percent before the Republican National Convention. In comparison, 94 percent of Democrats like Obama, virtually unchanged over the past month.

“The Republican National Convention did at least one thing it was meant to do. It greatly improved Romney’s standing among his base voters and somewhat improved how independents perceive him,” said Redlawsk.

Likely voters are generally less favorable toward Vice President Joe Biden than they are toward Obama: 49 percent have a favorable impression of Biden, with 39 percent unfavorable. Voters are slightly less negative toward Paul Ryan than they are toward Romney, though Ryan is still viewed unfavorably overall, 36 percent favorable to 48 percent unfavorable.

While the earlier gender gap has closed somewhat, women remain much less positive about Romney than do men while there is now no gender difference in feelings about Obama. Thirty-four percent of women feel favorable toward Romney, compared to 42 percent of men. But while women’s favorability toward Obama declined six points to 57 percent, men increased their rating by nine points to 56 percent favorable. Obama is now viewed as more likeable by both genders.

Changes in favorability among income groups shows some unexpected patterns in the face of Romney’s “47 percent” comments about those he does not believe will support him. The lowest income New Jersey voters, those with less than $50,000 in household income, have become somewhat more favorable toward Romney in the last month, increasing from 33 percent favorable (55 percent unfavorable) to 38 percent favorable (51 percent unfavorable). At the same time, those earning more than $150,000 show little change, barely moving from 44 percent favorable (48 percent unfavorable) to 43 percent favorable (50 percent unfavorable). Voters between these income groups have become significantly more unfavorable toward the Republican challenger.

“It does not look like Romney’s widely reported comments actually moved lower-income voters further away from him,” noted Redlawsk. “In fact, lowest-income group became slightly more likely to vote for Romney over the past month, rather than less likely. On the other hand, middle class voters with incomes between $50,000 and $150,000 are the ones who moved in Obama’s direction, while those who make more show relatively little change.”

Voters Pick Obama On Economy; Romney as Strong Leader

More than half of likely voters name the economy as their most important issue in the election—though this is down six points from August. No other issue comes close to the economy as most important to voters. Among voters who care most about the economy, 52 percent say Obama is the right candidate to handle the issue, while 43 percent say Romney would do the better job.

More voters (28 percent) say “strong leader” is the quality they want most in a presidential candidate; among these voters, Romney is preferred 61 percent to 35 percent, an increase for Romney of seven points since August. But the next two qualities – “cares about me” (19 percent choose this quality) and “shares my values” (17 percent) clearly play into Obama’s strengths, as voters who want those qualities strongly support Obama. The president wins on values, 67 percent to 31 percent, and overwhelms Romney on caring, 80 percent to 14 percent. While Obama support among voters choosing “cares about me” has changed little, “shares my values” voters have moved strongly into Obama’s column, up 18 points in the past month. These voters eliminate any advantage Romney has on leadership.

Interest in the election is high among most registered voters. Almost three-quarters (73 percent) report they are “very interested,” while 23 percent are “somewhat interested” and 4 percent are “not interested at all.”  Among those who are deemed likely voters based on history, turnout intent, political interest and campaign interest, an overwhelming 88 percent say they are “very interested” in this year’s presidential election.

“If there is an enthusiasm gap for Democrats, or at least compared to past elections, we’re not seeing it very clearly in New Jersey,” said Redlawsk. “At least among registered voters, interest is quite strong, and turnout appears likely to be similar to past presidential elections here.”

john biller October 04, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Romney isn't going to screw the taxpayers like Obama will! Look at what the EXTRA taxes we'll pay for "Obamacare": * Less than $9,500 income = $0 * $9,500 - $37,000 income = $695 * $50,000 income = $1,000 * $75,000 income = $1,600 * $100,000 income = $2,250 * $125,000 income = $2,900 * $150,000 income = $3,500 * $175,000 income = $4,100 * $200,000 income = $4,700 * Over $200,000 = The cost of a "bronze" health-insurance plan
john biller October 04, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Our GDP is now graded at 1.3% for 2012 Did you know that WELFARE entitlement programs are part of the GDP? Remove that and we may be in a negative GDP! Fire that con man in the white hourse in November. The community organizer who voted present vs. voting yay or nay in his single one year as a senator. Did you see ythe movie 2016 yet, this president never gave a dime to help out his brother who lives in a tin shack in Kenya. Read who the man really is vs. the actor you see on stage!
BobDee October 04, 2012 at 01:21 PM
People in NJ who vote O deserve what they get, nothing! Well maybe another 10trillion in debt! NJ voters need to cut back on the flouride.
Joe October 04, 2012 at 02:20 PM
last night killed that poll
Simon October 04, 2012 at 07:09 PM
I knew that this state had a load of idiots, many of whom invaded us from New Yawk, but I didn't realize that there were this many. They vote the way they drive. Like idiots.
John Jay October 04, 2012 at 07:37 PM
To "Ann 4:15 pm on Wednesday": I read your obnoxious comment about me. Your head must be spinning in the 24 hours since I posted Romney would defeat the Teleprompter-in-Chief (See: http://peoplescube.virtualestates.netdna-cdn.com/images/Obama_Head_Teleprompter_1.jpg) You accuse me of being a joke, and "closed-minded". Please explain how this applies to someone who: * Wants President Obama to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution; * Wants President Obama to bring our troops home; * Wants President Obama to stop taxing me to pay for insurance I don't want or need * Wants President Obama to stop literally bowing to foreign nations. Let me know when you come up with an answer. RE: "Ann 4:15 pm on Wednesday, October 3, 2012 John Jay....if you vote for Romney, your nightmares will just begin. You are so closed minded...everyone has the right to thier own opinions, all you do is try to scare people who really don't follow the issues. Your posts are really a joke!!"
Jamie Savoie October 04, 2012 at 11:50 PM
I agree. Also, most of today's polls initiated by socialist democrats are skewed and more weighted with democrats. Follow the national polls only. You can't believe any reports from ABC, NBC, CNBC, CNN, or CBS. They are all criminal lenterprises now. They no longer do journalism. Very sad....
Ric October 05, 2012 at 01:19 AM
@Jamie. Talk about skewed polls, the ones conducted by fascists right wing republicans are not good for anything other than a great laugh. The Long Island medium is more accurate and honest.
Frederick John LaVergne for Congress October 05, 2012 at 12:48 PM
"Among Registered Voters who work for the Obama Campaign".
Tim Tippett October 05, 2012 at 09:27 PM
From NJ !!!! Romney/Ryan!!!! 2012. I Moved my back surgey date just to help VOTE OUT OBAMA!!!
John Jay October 09, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Maybe you can get an OBAMAPHONE, Tim? (Just kidding! Good luck with your operation. Vote out Obama so that people can buy their own phone instead of putting a tax on mine.) RE: "Tim Tippett 5:27 pm on Friday, October 5, 2012 From NJ !!!! Romney/Ryan!!!! 2012. I Moved my back surgey date just to help VOTE OUT OBAMA!!!"
Will Smith October 11, 2012 at 11:59 PM
People being polled about the Republican't nominee continually mention, that they don't seem to " know who Mitten$ RMoney really is?" .... Well........ The 2012 Nominee Mitt is...... Anti-immigration, pro-life, anti-tax, anti-Affordable Care Act, pro gun rights, anti-gay marriage - a solid man strongly committed to solid conservative causes. Or he's a liar. Why? Because 2004 Governor Mitt is .... pro-choice, pro-universal health care and the individual mandate, not afraid to raise taxes, open to gay marriage, concerned about climate change - a solid man strongly committed to solid liberal causes. Or he's a liar. The thing about Mitten$ that people cannot know (and, I don't even think he does) is-which side of the political spectrum he's truly on. The only thing, the ONLY thing, you can really know about Mitt is ..... that he is a liar. And sadly,my friends, that's the indisputable truth.
Mike October 12, 2012 at 12:14 AM
You tell em Nancy Pelosi
Patrick October 12, 2012 at 12:42 AM
well throw out the dog whistle... and just get on to it. And if you actually had a clue, you wouldn't put our economy in the same sentence as Greece. In fact if you wanna look at what we'd look like under Romney look at Ireland. I'll make you do the work on that one... but your ignorance is just shocking.
Patrick October 12, 2012 at 12:45 AM
Concise? the last thing Romney is is concise. If he is so "concise", explain how he pays for his tax cuts? Explain how he is going to repeal Obamacare yet still cover pre existing conditions... you can't. cause he hasn't been concise.
John Jay October 12, 2012 at 06:48 AM
Here's what the New Jersey's liberal/communist/socialist faction is afraid of from a Romney win: * Conservatives, Libertarians and Republicans will gut the political system of the people that are the primary cause of America's decline: New Jersey's liberal/communist/socialist factions. * The liberal/communist/socialist factions of New Jersey are using taxpayer money for "programs" that encourage ignorance, dependence on government, and put the cost of real working citizens. * Stop the flow of taxpayer money, and you kill the New Jersey's liberal/communist/socialist beast.
Stinki Garbaage October 12, 2012 at 10:56 AM
Will Smith, Joe Biden was anti-abortion before he flip flopped. Obama was against gay marriage until he flip flopped to start the election season, and then he evolved and was for it Do you only concentrate on Conservative "lies" What about all the Obama lies? Shovel ready jobs, unemployment never going above 8%, deficit cut in half, reaching across the aisle, "the Video made them do it", "al qaeda is no more"..........all BLATANT LIES
Chris October 17, 2012 at 06:02 AM
Do you really think he forgot it? no.................. Thats a Republican, yes. I'll see if it works for me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Chris October 17, 2012 at 06:04 AM
So sad?????????????????????
Chris October 17, 2012 at 06:07 AM
Grow up, and repeat that you know.
jerseytomato October 25, 2012 at 10:24 PM
'Foreclosure aid?" Seriously?
jerseytomato October 25, 2012 at 10:29 PM
stephen Lyford- Bush didn't 'squander a surplus." Democrats were in control of the spending - REMEMBER? Typical liberal drivel to say 'Bush put us in two wars." How many countries do you suppose Obama has placed troops? Ever heard of the 'Arab Spring?' Are you aware that as I type this, there are 22 countries screaming, 'Death to America?' Incidentally, we are not 'climbing out of a deep, deep economic hole.' Obama has taken the National Deficit to unprecidented, astronomical numbers. Bush's deficit pales in comparison to Obama's. Do the math.
jerseytomato October 25, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Joe R - stop it already. You have no idea what Romeny will do - but at least Romeny isn't a hard core Marxist. Let's face it - we know his real name, who his daddy was, where he went to school, what his grades were, and his passport records have been disclosed. He's never been a member of the Communist Party, has never sworn an allegence to Islam, and doesn't hang with the likes of Van Jones, Jarret, Geithner, Dunn, Bennett, etc. He's not a tax cheat. Moreoer, if this country needs to be ran like a fortune 500 company in order to regain our AAA rating, and reduce our defict, I'm all for it. Your children and their children are already debt slaves to China because Obama has borrowed and printed to give trillions of our tax dollars to those who hate us, and would like to see us dead.
jerseytomato October 25, 2012 at 10:48 PM
The New York Magazine is a liberal rag. Incidentally, you and James Suroweiki should have submitted the article directly to Barack Obama - before he bailed out GM with your and my taxdollars. We all know he stuffed the pockets of his Union pals and Chicago thugs, and stiffed the shareholders. FYI: Obama wasn't concerned with saving you or me a single red cent with that takeover - or as liberals prefer - bailout. BTW - if Romeny did what he was accused of while at Bain, he would have been a billionaire instead of a millionaire. The NYM never metioned that, but the WSJ sure did.
jerseytomato October 25, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Harry Reid would love you. 'Democratic Majority Legislation?' Are you referring to the unmitigated, bottomless pit or cesspool of welfare fraud, fake disability claims, and more than 48 million Americans on food stamps? You do realize, that is the Democrats claim to fame? Thank goodness Filibustering is alive and well! Instead of allowing Republicans to excersise their Congressional right, Obama took it upon himself to 'bypass Congress." Did I mention that's an impeachable offense? The one saving grace should Obama steal the election, via voter fraud. As the old saying goes: when it comes to the Dems, never underestimate the power of voter fraud. Where was I? Oh yes - should Obama steal the election, there is always that little nagging matter of impeachment waiting. Benghazi would do nicely. How about Fast and Furious? Thank goodness the Republicans excersized their Congressional right to Filibuster. For the first two years the Marxist was in office, the Dems controlled all three branches. The Democrats demonstrated their inablity to control their outrageous spending. Once Democrats lost the Congress, and Republicans took it back, they chaffed at the thought of a 'budget.' Hence, Harry Reid refused to put a budget together for four years. The only way to try to control the Democrats spending was to filibuster. God Bless the Republicans - at least they tried.
jerseytomato October 25, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Nevermind Medicaid - entitlement spending takes up two thirds of our budget.
jerseytomato October 25, 2012 at 11:05 PM
You get all of your infomation from MSNBC sound bites? Romeny didn't say that.
jerseytomato October 25, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Joe R - so you support a President who wants Verterans to pay for their own medical insurance and care. Let me remind you - it was Barack Hussein Obama who suggested that. You should thank your lucky stars, because it was the Repubicans who made sure that didn't happen. ' If your going to bash Romeny, at least do it with the truth. Under Obamacare, senior citizens - not just the 'disabled' will get ZERO under Obamacare. Same can be said of children with birth defects, or adults with tramatic injury. None will be considered 'assets to society.' In truth, if Stephen Hawking were born under Obamacare, he would have never had a chance, and the world would be lesser for not having such a brilliant physicist. Romey nor Ryan ever said the word 'moochers.' To be clear, verterans, soldiers, senior citizens (disabled or not) are not catorgorized as moochers. Moochers are people who are too lazy to work, and go on disability. Drunks, former an current drug addicts, etc. We all know people who have done this, in every walk of life, in every profession. This has nothing to do with the people I listed above,. There is a huge difference.
Kevin Wyman October 26, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Snopes seems to have a different perspective on jerseytomato's info (or should I say misinformation). http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/veteranshealth.asp I urge all voters Democrats and Republicans to trust only non-partisan info like Politifact.com, factcheck.org, and snopes to make their informed voting decisions. At least that way, we are voting on only the facts that may or may not agree with our collective opinions and not a bunch of garbage taken out of context or based on misinformation.
Monk October 26, 2012 at 03:11 PM
It's hard to understand how adults can prefer to be dependent upon the government rather than upon themselves. I guess it all has to do with their upbringing and education or, rather, their arrested development and indoctrination. It only stands to reason that an ideology which villifies wealthy people is an ideology that is bad for everyone. The top thing wealthy people want is a vibrant economy with everyone participating in it ... because this will benefit them. The poor grow poorer, when the government strangles the economy, not when wealthy people invest in it.

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