President Obama's approval rating in New Jersey has jumped five points since January, and voters now approve of him by 51 to 46 percent, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University Public Mind poll released Wednesday.
While the president’s approval rating is up significantly, the “wrong direction” number is down.
Men are more likely to disapprove of the president (49 percent than to approve, 43 percent), but women approve of the president by a margin of 24 points (58 to 34 percent).
“National Republicans are a turnoff to many women voters recently,” Peter Woolley, the poll's director, said. “Rick Santorum and Rush Limbaugh have combined to alarm, if not completely alienate, pro-choice women.”
In trial heats, Obama handily beats each of the still-standing Republican candidates for president. Against Mitt Romney he coasts 50 to 37 percent. Against Ron Paul he wins 52 to 34 percent. Against Santorum, the president's margin widens to 54 to 33 percent, and against Newt Gingrich to 56 to 29 percent.
In every case, Obama's wide margin is accounted for in women’s votes. Women give the president margins from 27 points against Romney (57 to 30 percent), to 40 points over Gingrich (63 to 23 percent).
Obama’s dominance is despite a majority of New Jersey voters saying the nation is headed the wrong way: just 37 percent say the country is going in the “right direction,” while 53 percent say it’s “on the wrong track.” The 53 percent is actually an eight point decline from 61 percent measured in January, but contrasts sharply to 51 percent who say the state is headed in the right direction.
“The story so far in the primary season is that no Republican candidate has been able to take advantage of voters’ dissatisfaction with the direction of the country,” Woolley said. “Instead they have spent much of their time and energy trying to take advantage of each other’s weaknesses.”
A majority of voters (53 percent) say the long, difficult Republican primary contest will “weaken the Republican candidate who runs against President Obama in November. Just one in four (27 percent) say the hard fought primary will strengthen the Republican who wins the nomination.
The poll of 800 registered voters statewide was conducted by telephone from Mar. 5 through Sunday, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.