The Jersey Devil really does exist, at least among voters who believe in keeping the devil they do know versus the devil they don’t know come Election Day.
It should come as no surprise that New Jersey voters believe President Barack Obama is the right person to fix the economy. The Garden State is traditionally a Blue State. Even Gov. Chris Christie in his keynote speech at Tuesday’s Republican National Convention acknowledged the improbability of a New Jersey Republican in such a role.
The president leads Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney by 14 points in the Garden State, according to a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. More than half of New Jersey voters polled said they’d re-elect Obama; that's compared to just 37 for Romney. Another 6 percent want another option, according to the poll. The remaining 5 percent are undecided.
The poll also found while Obama holds the lead, nearly 60 percent of Garden State voters believe the country is on the wrong track. More than 35 percent like where this country is going. Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate remains at 8 percent for the longest period since the end of World War II.
“The president leads in New Jersey primarily because of his personal qualities,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of Political Science at Rutgers University. “Voters like him better and feel he shares their values and cares about them. While Romney keeps it closer on the hard issue of the economy, and wins easily on leadership, voters generally prefer to support someone they like over someone they don’t.”
The sad fact is politics is the ultimate popularity game; regardless of qualifications. Every politician has a certain charisma to those of like minds and a certain disdain to those who disagree.
“As Election Day approaches, Obama’s margin in New Jersey will be readily traceable to how positive women feel about him, more than anything else,” Redlawsk said.
Change isn’t easy or fun and it is never popular; but in life it is necessary.
“Our founding fathers had the wisdom to know that social acceptance and popularity is fleeting and that this country's principles needed to be rooted in strengths greater than the passions and emotions of the times,” Christie said in his keynote speech. “Our leaders today have decided it is more important to be popular, to do what is easy and say 'yes,' rather than to say no when 'no' is what's required.”
In the Garden State, the Jersey Devil should remain a myth or a professional hockey team; not a fear of the unknown.