Monmouth Poll: Dems Preferred in Midterms Despite Biden’s Poor Ratings

New Jerseyans prefer to keep Democrats in control of Congress, but it’s not a large enough edge to avoid the possibility of some close contests this November. The Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll finds that public opinion of President Joe Biden continues to be underwater while ratings for the state’s Democratic U.S. senators remain positive. Democrats support a bid to make the Garden State one of the nation’s first presidential primaries.

Just over half of New Jerseyans either prefer (43%) or lean toward (9%) keeping the Democrats in power in Congress. About 4 in 10 want to switch to Republican control (34% prefer and 7% lean). A national Monmouth poll conducted last month produced a more divided result (46% of Americans wanted Democratic control and 45% wanted Republican control).

The current findings are in line with a similar question Monmouth asked New Jersey voters in April 2020, when 50% indicated they would support the Democratic candidate for Congress and 38% would back the Republican. Democratic House candidates ended up with a 15-point edge in the cumulative statewide vote that year, although 5 of the state’s 12 districts had margins of 8 points or less.  Back in the 2018 midterm election, Democrats held a 19-point advantage in Monmouth’s April polling (54% to 35%) and ended up with a 21-point margin in the final statewide vote tally.

“It’s important to keep in mind that we are measuring leadership preference rather than vote intention with this question. Still, these results suggest that we could see a similar turnout pattern to two years ago. That means there should be some close House races, depending on how the president is doing in the fall and the impact of redistricting,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Currently, Biden has a net negative job rating of 45% approve to 50% disapprove in New Jersey, a state he won by 16 points in 2020. The president’s rating was positive into last summer, but dropped significantly right before last year’s gubernatorial election. Among Black, Latino, and Asian residents, Biden holds a 51% approve to 40% disapprove rating.  Last May, he had a much larger 69% to 24% positive margin with this group. His current rating among white New Jerseyans is a negative 42% approve to 56% disapprove (compared with 45% to 50% in May 2021).

            New Jersey opinion of the president’s job performance is lower than ratings given to other Democratic officeholders. Specifically, Sen. Cory Booker has a 53% approve to 32% disapprove rating and Sen. Bob Menendez has a 42% approve to 38% disapprove rating. In a Monmouth poll released yesterday, Gov. Phil Murphy holds a 55% approve to 35% disapprove rating. Unlike Biden, the current ratings for these three officeholders are similar to public opinion of their job performance one year ago.

            “New Jersey is fundamentally a blue state.  The fact that Biden is doing so poorly here suggests he has lost enthusiasm among core constituencies in his own base,” said Murray.

            The poll also asked New Jerseyans about moving up the state’s presidential primary in 2024. Just over half (52%) support shifting the primary from June to February to become among the first in the nation, while 34% are opposed to this move. Most Democrats (60%) and independents (53%) support this idea, but fewer Republicans (39%) back it.

            “A shake-up of the nation’s presidential primary calendar is long overdue. New Jersey’s Democratic leadership has put in a bid to be among the first contests and most of the party’s rank-and-file are on board with that,” said Murray.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from March 31 to April 4, 2022 with 802 New Jersey adults.  The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS     

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

[Q1 held for future release.]

[Q2-3 previously released.]

4.      Do you approve or disapprove of the job Joe Biden is doing as president?

All adults

April2022

Approve

45%

Disapprove

50%

(VOL) No opinion

5%

   (n)

(802)

TREND: Registered voters

April2022

Oct.2021

Aug.2021

May2021

Approve

47%

43%

51%

55%

Disapprove

49%

49%

41%

40%

(VOL) No opinion

4%

8%

9%

5%

   (n)

(738)

(1,000)

(810)

(661)

[QUESTIONS 5 & 6 WERE ROTATED]

5.      Do you approve or disapprove of the job Bob Menendez is doing as United States Senator?

All adults

April2022

Approve

42%

Disapprove

38%

(VOL) No opinion

20%

   (n)

(802)

TREND: Registered voters

April2022

Sept.2021

May2021

April2020

Sept.2019

Feb.2019

Approve

44%

43%

46%

44%

37%

40%

Disapprove

39%

35%

38%

38%

45%

45%

(VOL) No opinion

17%

22%

16%

18%

18%

15%

   (n)

(738)

(804)

(661)

(635)

(651)

(549)

TREND: Registered voters continued

April2018

July2017

May2016

July2015

May2015

Feb.2015

Sept.2014

June2014

April2014

Feb.2014

Dec.2013

April2013

Feb.2013

Approve

37%

41%

41%

38%

42%

49%

45%

47%

51%

49%

47%

44%

41%

Disapprove

38%

35%

31%

38%

38%

27%

30%

34%

31%

30%

27%

38%

31%

(VOL) No opinion

25%

23%

28%

23%

20%

24%

26%

19%

18%

21%

26%

18%

28%

   (n)

(632)

(758)

(703)

(453)

(441)

(712)

(680)

(717)

(690)

(690)

(698)

(694)

(697)

TREND: Registered voters continued

April2012

Feb.2012

Oct.2011

Aug.2011

May2011

July2010

Oct.2008

April2008

Jan.2008

Approve

40%

41%

43%

38%

46%

38%

34%

41%

37%

Disapprove

25%

26%

29%

33%

28%

33%

25%

31%

25%

(VOL) No opinion

35%

33%

28%

29%

26%

29%

41%

28%

37%

   (n)

(692)

(709)

(693)

(730)

(725)

(747)

(900)

(720)

(698)

6.      Do you approve or disapprove of the job Cory Booker is doing as United States Senator?

All adults

April2022

Approve

53%

Disapprove

32%

(VOL) No opinion

15%

   (n)

(802)

TREND: Registered voters

April2022

Sept.2021

May

2021

April

2020

Sept.

2019

Feb.

2019

Approve

55%

51%

57%

51%

45%

48%

Disapprove

33%

32%

36%

34%

40%

38%

(VOL) No opinion

12%

17%

6%

14%

16%

14%

   (n)

(738)

(804)

(661)

(635)

(651)

(549)

TREND: Registered voters

April2018

July2017

May2016

July2015

May2015

Feb.2015

Sept.2014

June2014

April2014

Feb.2014

Dec.2013

Approve

54%

50%

53%

45%

51%

51%

42%

48%

47%

47%

37%

Disapprove

31%

31%

21%

24%

21%

21%

23%

25%

23%

20%

21%

(VOL) No opinion

15%

20%

27%

31%

27%

27%

35%

27%

30%

32%

43%

   (n)

(632)

(758)

(703)

(453)

(441)

(712)

(680)

(717)

(690)

(690)

(698)

7.      Looking ahead to this year’s midterm elections, would you rather see the Republicans or the Democrats in control of Congress, or doesn’t this matter to you? [CHOICES WERE ROTATED] [If DOES NOT MATTER: If you had to lean one way or the other would you pick the Republicans or the Democrats?]

April2022

Republicans

34%

Not matter, but lean Rep

7%

Democrats

43%

Not matter, but lean Dem

9%

Does not matter, no lean

6%

(VOL) Don’t know

0%

(n)

(802)

8.      Some New Jersey leaders are looking to move the state’s presidential primary election in 2024 from June to February in order to be one of the first primaries in the nation.  Do you support or oppose moving up New Jersey’s presidential primary to be among the first in the nation?

April2022

Support

52%

Oppose

34%

(VOL) Don’t know

14%

(n)

(802)

[Q9-14 previously released.]

[Q15-45 held for future release.]

 

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from March 31 to April 4, 2022 with a probability-based random sample of 802 New Jersey adults age 18 and older, in English. This includes 280 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 522 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone. Telephone numbers were selected through random digit dialing and landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The full sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information (ACS 2018 one-year survey). Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and Dynata (RDD sample).  For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

NJ Regions (by county)

North – Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, Union, Warren

Central – Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Somerset

South – Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean, Salem

DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)

Self-Reported

24% Republican

40% Independent

36% Democrat

 

49% Male

51% Female

 

28% 18-34

34% 35-54

38% 55+

 

58% White

12% Black

19% Hispanic

11% Asian/Other

 

61% No degree

39% 4 year degree

MARGIN OF ERROR

unweighted  sample

moe(+/-)

TOTAL

 

802

3.5%

REGISTERED VOTER

Yes

738

3.6%

No

64

12.3%

SELF-REPORTED PARTY ID

Republican

171

7.5%

Independent

325

5.4%

Democrat

298

5.7%

REGION

North

359

5.2%

Central

203

6.9%

South

234

6.4%

GENDER

Male

392

5.0%

Female

410

4.8%

AGE

18-34

191

7.1%

35-54

306

5.6%

55+

301

5.7%

RACE

White, non-Hispanic

510

4.3%

Other

270

6.0%

COLLEGE GRADUATE

No degree

316

5.5%

4 year degree

486

4.5%

INCOME

<$50K

128

8.7%

$50 to <$100K

227

6.5%

$100K+

405

4.9%

CHILDREN IN HOME

Yes

286

5.8%

No

516

4.3%

 

Crosstabs may be found in the PDF file on the report webpage:  https://www.monmouth.edu/polling-institute/reports/monmouthpoll_NJ_040722/

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