NOTE: This post was corrected on August 11, 2014. Please see the bottom of this post for some details, or click here.
Today we begin a set of releases on our latest poll. This first one looks at how New Jerseyans respond to a Chris Christie – Hillary Clinton matchup as well as which names are most likely to come up for Republicans and Democrats as their top party preference. Not surprisingly, the answer is Clinton (Democrats) and Christie (Republicans.) Both swamp any other mentions of names. We should note that our question is hard – it is open ended, asking people to name their preference for their party’s nomination. We also asked them to name a second choice, an even harder task. Essentially what we are testing is the extent to which NJ voters have any other names in mind besides the dominant personalities. The answer is pretty much no. And how could they? After all, the only person on the Democratic side who gets any media attention is Clinton, and here in NJ Christie is clearly the the one Republicans think about and hear about. It becomes, of course, a viscous circle for other potential candidates. The media mostly talks about Clinton and Christie, so voters only know about them, and they respond accordingly. Then the media reports that no one else has a chance. Must be tough to be not-Christie or not-Clinton!
One other highlight to note today. After a lot of analysis over the last few months, we have decided to enhance our approach to weighting the data we collect and expand our disclosure statement (which you can find at the end of the full press release located here) to provide more details about this process. In particular we are now including frame weights based on our dual sample of both cell phones and landlines. The result, we think, is a better estimate of the population from our sample. We have also begun adjusting our reported margin of error. It is always the case that adding weights to the sample increases the variance (variation) in the results. To account for this we now calculate the “design effect” which accounts for this. But it also increases the reported margin of error, which we now take into account. For those interested, we use Langer Research Associates’ margin of error calculator.
Full text of the release follows. For a PDF of the release with all text, tables, and disclosures, click here.
NJ VOTERS NAME CHRISTIE, CLINTON TOP CHOICES FOR PRESIDENT
CLINTON LEADS IN HEAD-TO-HEAD MATCH UP
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Asked to choose their party’s presidential candidate for 2016, New Jersey Republicans give top honors to Gov. Chris Christie, while Democrats overwhelmingly pick former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. Two years ahead of the election, more than 7 in 10 Republicans and Democrats can name a preferred nominee.
Christie’s name comes to mind first for 41 percent of Republicans and GOP leaners. Another 8 percent name Christie their second choice. In contrast, 59 percent of Democrats choose Clinton as their candidate. For another 7 percent, she is second choice.
No other prospective candidate from either party approaches the front-runners; nearly all others score below 10 percent as first or second choices.
“This is a hard test for voters,” noted David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers University. “We did not provide a list of candidates, so voters must think about who they know. Not surprisingly, Christie overwhelms other Republicans here. On the other side, lack of media coverage of Democrats other than Clinton makes it hard for Democrats to name anyone else.”
When the frontrunners are matched head-to-head in a hypothetical 2016 race, Clinton holds a double-digit margin over Christie, albeit smaller than in early 2014. Just over half the state’s voters (51 percent) support Clinton with 40 percent for Christie in a direct matchup. Four percent want someone else, and another 6 percent are unsure. In a January 2014 Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, as Bridgegate swirled around Christie, Clinton led 55 percent to 34 percent. That lead was cut to 10 points in March.
Clinton also holds a slight favorability edge over Christie among New Jerseyans, although her numbers have trended downward over the past six months. Fifty-four percent now view her favorably, 32 percent unfavorably, and 14 percent have no opinion. Christie’s favorability has climbed to 49 percent during the same time period while 40 percent feel unfavorably and 10 percent have no opinion. In January, 65 percent felt favorable toward Clinton, 46 percent liked Christie.
Results are from a statewide poll of 871 adult New Jerseyans contacted by live callers on both landlines and cell phones from July 28 to August 5, 2014. This release reports on a subsample of 750 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.0 percentage points.
Christie, Clinton are their partisans’ overwhelming favorites
Christie and Clinton dominate their respective New Jersey party bases as presidential candidates in 2016. “Both are constantly scrutinized with never-ending ‘Will they or won’t they run?’ buzz,” said Redlawsk. “All this media attention puts them at the top of voters’ minds and thus makes them the top choices by far. But it is important to recognize that voters today are mostly responding to what they hear and see in media reports. Hearing little of other candidates, they respond accordingly when they don’t get a list containing different options.”
Among Republicans, 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney comes in a distant second with a combined 12 percent for first- and second-place mentions. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) tie for third at 8 percent. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) are at 7 percent, while other Republicans who have been rumored to run, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Texas Gov. Rick Perry, do not surpass 5 percent of their party base.
Among Republican voters who name Christie as their first choice, nearly half cannot name a second choice. But eight percent identify Rubio as their fallback, while another nine percent name Ryan. Five percent tap Romney as their second choice.
Democratic voters name even fewer potential candidates. Only Vice President Joe Biden is mentioned as a first choice with some frequency, while trailing Clinton by a wide margin; he’s first choice among 4 percent and first or second choice among 10 percent. Despite her objections to running, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) garners seven percent of combined first and second mentions, just behind New Jersey first-term Sen. Cory Booker’s eight percent. Andrew Cuomo is second choice among 2 percent of respondents.
Sixty-nine percent of Clinton supporters do not name a second choice for president; 11 percent say Biden is their second choice, while eight percent name Booker, and seven percent pick Warren.
Clinton continues to lead Christie among most groups
“Clinton continues to top Christie in favorability for 2016, even with the Bridgegate frenzy subsiding and the backlash against the former Secretary of State during her recent book tour,” said Redlawsk. “So while New Jersey voters still have a net positive feeling about Christie, they like Clinton somewhat more. And, of course, this remains a Democratic state, suggesting even Christie would have trouble winning it in 2016.”
Clinton’s margin against Christie in a 2016 matchup has remained steady since March, though her current advantage is only half of what it was in January. While 85 percent of Democrats and Republicans each side with their respective candidates, independents are evenly split, 43 percent Christie to 42 percent Clinton.
Clinton wins among both men and women, but is supported by the latter by a wider margin (53 percent to 36 percent), compared to men (48 percent to 43 percent). She loses among white voters, while winning across minority voters.
While Clinton’s favorability ratings have slipped from her high of 65 percent in January, she is still viewed quite favorably across the board. Eighty-three percent of voters from Clinton’s own party hold a favorable impression of her, as do 47 percent of independents; 19 percent of Republicans feel the same. Fifty-nine percent of women are favorable toward her compared to 47 percent of men. She is viewed more favorably than unfavorably among all other major demographic groups.
Christie’s favorability ratings have climbed slightly since Bridgegate broke, but remain steady over the past few months. Seventy-none percent of Republicans and 52 percent of independents view the governor favorably, but Christie continues to be viewed negatively by more than half of Democrats. Half of men and women have a positive view of the governor. Minorities and millennial voters are more likely than most to have unfavorable impressions of Christie, while their counterparts are more likely to have favorable ones.
# # #Advisory: This release is a corrected version of the release of August 7, 2014. Due to an inadvertent error in calculating weights, some results were reported incorrectly. Most results were correct; while a few numbers used in the original release changed less than one percentage point. However, because of rounding to the nearest percentage point, some results moved up or down one or two points. Key changes include revising the Clinton-Christie match-up from 50%-40% to 51% to 40%. Clinton’s favorable rating should have been reported at 54% favorable instead of 53%, while Christie’s favorable rating should have been reported at 49% instead of 50%. In addition the reported weighted demographics of the sample have changed slightly, including increasing the rounded share of Democrats by 2 points to 33%, and decreasing the share of independents by 2 points to 48% and Republicans by one point to 19%. Women should have been reported as 54% of the sample instead of 52% and men 46% instead of 48%. These corrected demographics actually better represent NJ voters than did the original reports.