Monthly Archives: March 2015

A Closer Look by the ECPIP Staff … Understanding the Future of New Jersey’s Most Important Problem

By Brandon Diaz-Abreu

Brandon Diaz-Abreu is a data visualization and graphic representation intern at the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP) and a sophomore at Rutgers University.

In our most recent Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, New Jerseyans continue to say that taxes, followed closely by the economy and jobs, are the most important problems facing the Garden State – a combined 53 percent. Our previous polls show that these two issues have consistently been mentioned as the top problems since February 2013. But while there is a lot of focus on how the prolonged reign of these issues impacts politics in the Garden State, a closer inspection reveals some possible new trends in the years to come.

Approximately 10-13 percent of New Jersey residents have said education is the top problem in the state in the same time period as stated above, consistently ranked third or fourth as the most important issue. But when we look closer at this question by age and region, we see that each month, education is the first or second most important problem for people 18-39 years old (21 percent this past February) and is usually a close second for people who live in urban areas (12 percent this past February) – arguably two of the groups most impacted by this issue.

For young adults, the rising costs of higher education is one part of the issue that looms large: young college students are worried about how to pay tuition rates that are on the rise, and recent college graduates may be struggling to pay off their accumulated student loans. As for urban residents, their heightened interest in this issue may stem from concerns for quality of education and child safety in urban school systems.

As we can see in the table below, the issue of education has become an increasingly important problem to these particular groups, as well as to the New Jersey population overall, between 2009 and now. Though taxes and the economy have perennially been top concerns, it is possible that education could take the number one spot in New Jersey in the next few decades if little continues to be done for the state’s educational system.

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Filed under Education, Most Important Problem, New Jersey

A Closer Look by the ECPIP Staff … Do I Like You, or Do I Know You? The Question of Republicans in 2016

By Robert Cartmell

Robert Cartmell is a Data Visualization Intern with the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling and a junior at Rutgers University.

It is widely speculated that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee for president in 2016, but when it comes to the Republicans, no one is completely sure who will come through the primaries to challenge Hillary in the general election. Three of the most frequently talked about candidates are former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and New Jersey’s own Governor Chris Christie. The three governors all have different strengths, weaknesses, and ideas on key issues, but one way to attempt to identify a frontrunner is to look at their personal ratings. The latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll asked New Jersey voters for their impressions of each of these political figures.

At this stage in the presidential game, these three Republican figures are probably most concerned with how they perform among the GOP base. In New Jersey, 73 percent of Republican voters say they are favorable towards Chris Christie; 50 percent of Republicans say the same about Jeb Bush, and 33 percent say it about Scott Walker. Christie appears to have a clear lead in ratings within his own state, but favorability is only half the story. Christie and Bush both have a notable number of Republican voters who feel unfavorably towards them as well – 20 percent for Christie and 24 percent for Bush. Just 5 percent express this kind of negativity for Scott Walker; while he is shown the least favorability, he also garners the least disdain, probably because he is the least know among New Jerseyans.

As for other partisans in the Garden State, majorities of Democrats (70 percent) and independents (55 percent) are unfavorable towards Christie. Bush fairs better among both of these groups; 51 percent of Democrats and 38 percent of Independents are unfavorable towards him. While Walker has low unfavorable numbers among these groups, at least six in ten Democrats and independents do not know who he is or have no opinion of him.

For the Republicans in 2016, there still appears to be no clear front-runner yet. We will see whether the nominee turns out to be someone who is seen as more favorable, the most unknown at this point, or the candidate who is somewhere in between. Only time – and a whole lot of campaigning – will tell.

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Filed under 2016 President, Chris Christie, Christie NJ Rating, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker

A Closer Look by the ECPIP Staff … Voting for a Woman in the Oval Office: What Difference Does Age Make?

By Liz Kantor and Sonni Waknin

Elizabeth Kantor, a junior at Rutgers University, is the Lead Data Archivist and a methodological intern with the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling. Sonni Waknin, a sophomore at Rutgers University, is an archiving and general research intern with the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling.

As we reported last month, the most recent Rutgers-Eagleton Poll showed that New Jersey voters think the country is ready for a woman president, and in a series of hypothetical matchups, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in particular, easily beats any of her potential Republican opponents – including Governor Christie himself. Although the United States has never elected a woman president, eight in ten New Jersey registered voters believe the country is ready for one; just 15 percent feel the opposite, and four percent are unsure.

And this overwhelming belief does not differ across age groups. From young to old, New Jerseyans across the board see the country as ready for a woman in the Oval Office. There are no statistically significant differences between millennial, middle aged, and senior voters.

But voters of different ages in the Garden State do not all think alike when it comes to their own personal preferences. While, overall, voters are split down the middle about personally hoping for a woman president in their lifetime, nearly six in ten millennial voters hope for such a milestone. But this personal desire decreases with age. Half of those 40 to 64 years old, and just over four in ten senior citizen voters, say the same.

With Clinton’s potential presidential bid, the difference between those who believe the U.S. is ready to have a woman president and those who personally hope to elect one is noteworthy. Younger citizens seemingly have a vested personal interest in seeing a woman elected president more than any other age group. This difference might be attributable to the fact that millennials have come of age in a society that more openly advocates for gender equality, making them more comfortable and invested in electing a woman as president. Though younger voters are generally less likely to turn out, perhaps increased hope for a woman president will lead younger New Jerseyans to vote at a higher rate on Election Day in 2016 if Hillary Clinton does in fact run.

Garden state voters of all ages furthermore seem to be on Clinton’s side when it comes to prospective 2016 matchups. New Jersey voters across the board would vote for Clinton over their own governor, Chris Christie, 58 percent to 35 percent, if the election for president were held today. While the personal desire for a woman president does vary with age, support for Clinton within New Jersey does not.  Apparently when the abstract is made specific in reference to Clinton, voters focus on her rather than the general idea of a woman president.

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Filed under 2016 President, Hillary Clinton, Woman president