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.