Daily Archives: November 30, 2015

A Closer Look by the ECPIP Staff … While Gov. Christie is a National Name, Lt. Gov. Guadagno Fails to Make Waves at Home

As we gear up for our next Rutgers-Eagleton Poll – the big 200th in 44 years of polling New Jersey! – our student staff takes a closer look at some of the data from our October survey that we have not yet had a chance to fully explore. This one addresses Lieutenant Gov. Kim Guadagno’s (lack of) name recognition.

While Gov. Christie is a National Name, Lt. Gov. Guadagno Fails to Make Waves at Home

By Sonni Waknin

Sonni Waknin is a junior at Rutgers University. Sonni is the lead poll historian and a research associate with the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling and the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.


Some local and state politicians are not very well known by their citizens. For example, while most New Jersey voters know of Gov. Chris Christie, very few recognize or have an opinion on other high-level politicians in the state – such as Lieutenant Gov. Kim Guadagno. Guadagno has served with Christie for over five years, yet has not cultivated any name recognition with New Jersey voters despite acting as governor almost as much as Christie has in the past year alone.

An October 2015 Rutgers-Eagleton Poll found that 67 percent of New Jersey voters either do not know who the Lieutenant Governor is or have no opinion of her. When New Jerseyans do have an opinion on Guadagno, 19 percent are favorable and 14 percent are unfavorable toward the Lieutenant Governor.

Unsurprisingly, there is a partisan divide when it comes to Guadagno’s favorability, with more Republicans than Democrats holding a favorable view of the Lieutenant Governor. About one third of Republicans are favorable toward her, as opposed to only 9 percent of Democrats; independents are much more favorable than Democrats, at 19 percent. About one in ten Republicans are unfavorable, compared to about one fifth of Democrats. But Guadagno is overwhelmingly unknown by at least half of Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike. The number of those who do not know or have an opinion of Guadagno is especially high for independents and Democrats, at around 70 percent.

When viewing Guadagno’s favorability by gender, women are 4 percent less likely to have a favorable view of the Lieutenant Governor than men, 17 to 21 percent. Also, slightly fewer men find Guadagno unfavorable at 13 percent, compared to 14 percent of women. Again, most do not know or have an opinion of Guadagno regardless of their gender.

Looking at Guadagno’s favorability by age, the Lieutenant Governor appears to become more favorable and more well-known with older voters. Only 12 percent of those 18-34 find Guadagno favorable. This number practically doubles among residents 35-49 and 50-64 years old – to 20 percent and 24 percent favorable, respectively. However, Guadagno’s favorability dips for New Jerseyans 65 and older to 17 percent favorable.

In every category, a majority New Jersey voters, regardless of party, age, gender, or even race, do not know who Lt. Gov. Guadagno is. It is hard for New Jerseyans to have an opinion of Guadagno because she has not had a very public presence in the state. Guadagno’s low numbers may also be because Christie himself is such a large personality that it is hard for Guadagno to become a name on her own. Christie’s own favorability rating moreover may have something to do with how the Lt. Governor is perceived by voters. It should be important to New Jersey voters who their Lt. Governor is, because when Christie is out of state – which is often these days – the Lt. Governor is the acting governor. Guadagno should try to make herself more well known in the state, given that she has taken a very active role in the administration while Christie has been campaigning for president. And of course, the 2017 gubernatorial race is only two years away; if Guadagno hopes to be a contender, she does not have long to build her name recognition.


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Polling in Iowa; Does it Mean Much Yet?

For the last few months, Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling Director David Redlawsk has been in Iowa, studying the first in the nation Iowa Caucuses, following up on work he and colleagues did in 2007-08 for the book Why Iowa?.

What follows is another in our occasional series of blog posts from him about his experiences and about the campaigns for president. These posts were originally published on the Drake University Caucus Blog; Dave is in residence as a Fellow at the Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement. In addition to these posts, he is tweeting @DavidRedlawsk as he attends events and watches the process unfold.

Read below for Dave’s take on how Iowans tend to make up their minds late.

Iowa Caucus Goers are late deciders: Still Plenty of Room for Change

It’s just over 60 days to the Iowa Caucuses. Polling continues to show Donald Trump on top of the GOP pack here in the Hawkeye State. But, as I write this two recent polls show something changing under the Trump umbrella. Ben Carson, who had been running a close second to Trump appears to be falling; perhaps his time is over. Taking his place is Ted Cruz, who has doubled his support to just over 20%, while Carson has fallen below that mark. Trump himself remains in the 25%-30% range, where he has been stuck for months. Nothing seems to change for Trump in Iowa; all the action is in second and third.

Meanwhile the media remains obsessed about whether Trump’s support is real, or whether it will fade as voters get “serious”. Nate Silver just suggested the media needs to “stop freaking out” over Trump. He argues, as I have since at least August in Twitter comments and on the news app Sidewire, that Trump’s numbers remain stagnant at about a quarter of GOP voters. We’re seeing this in Iowa as well as nationally. In fact, a poll in August had Trump at 23% in Iowa; today he is around 25%.

The basis of Silvers sanguine attitude toward a Trump nomination is the claim that voters in places like Iowa do not make up their minds until quite late. Silver uses public exit polls from the 2008 and 2012 caucuses to show this.

Here I want to reinforce that point, using a completely different dataset. In 2008, Caroline Tolbert, Todd Donovan (my co-authors on Why Iowa?) and I administered an in-caucus survey of both parties. This is NOT an exit poll. Instead, with the cooperation of both parties, we placed a single survey instrument in EVERY Iowa precinct with instructions to the Caucus Chair to give it to the person whose birthday was closest to a random date on the packet. This allowed us to randomize the survey and also to potentially cover every precinct in Iowa. While we didn’t get them all back, our return rate was over 60% for the GOP and over 70% for the Democrats.

So what can we learn from the GOP and Democratic caucus goers of 2008, the last time both parties had wide open nominations?

First, YES, Iowans do not rush to make Caucus decisions. Across both parties in 2008, 54% of those filling out the survey told us they had made their candidate choice only in the final month, and 5% came in the door that night undecided. Just a quarter had decided at least three months before the caucuses.

And first time attendees were not any faster or slower making up their minds: 56% had done so in the final month, compared to 52% of repeat attendees, an insignificant difference. Not surprisingly though, those who had caucused before were a little more likely to be early deciders: 27% decided before October 2007, compared to 22% of first timers.

We also see no differences in gender – men and women were equally likely in 2008 to make late decisions.

Of course, some Iowa Caucus goers are party activists, but in 2008 a surprising number (nearly 60% in our survey) were not, something I would expect will be the case again this year. No one should be surprised that activists make up their minds earlier: across both parties nearly 60% of the most active has made a decision more than a month before, as had over half of those who called themselves “somewhat active” in their party. In contrast only slightly more than one-third of less active voters made an early decision.

While the above combines both parties, we can dig further into our data and look for differences between Republicans and Democrats. What we find is that in 2007-08, GOP voters were slower to decide. While 47% of Democrats with a preference entering the caucuses, waited until the last month to decide this rises to 62% of GOP voters that year. Nearly 30% of Democrats had decided before October, but only 19% of Republicans had settled on a choice that early.

A group of particular importance to GOP candidates is Evangelical Christians. But guess what? Once again we see no real differences in decision time. Evangelicals were just as likely to make a late decision as any other Iowa Caucus goer in 2008.

What’s the takeaway from this deeper dive into Iowa Caucus goers’ decision timing? Simply, there is a lot of room for candidates to play in the final weeks before Iowans cast their First in the Nation votes. The lesson for 2016 may be exactly what Silver and others are saying. There remains fluidity, and the inevitability of Donald Trump in Iowa (or anywhere else) is not at all certain. If the past holds any indicators for today, at two months ahead of the caucuses a very large share of the vote is still in play, no matter what people tell pollsters today. And in particular, given that GOP voters appear to make later decisions even in 2008 when both parties had large fields, there is every reason to think we have a lot more ups and downs to watch before this whole thing is over. Some people are committed, but most are still shopping, even as their choice set gets smaller and the shopping days fly by.

Final note: The data we collected with our 2008 in-caucus, along with the survey instruments, are available for anyone to examine at www.whyiowa.org.


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A Closer Look by the ECPIP Staff … 2008 All Over Again: Obama Still More Popular Than Clinton

As we gear up for our next Rutgers-Eagleton Poll – the big 200th in 44 years of polling New Jersey! – our student staff takes a closer look at some of the data from our October survey that we have not yet had a chance to fully explore. This particular post puts a very interesting spin on the relationship between Obama and Hillary supporters!

2008 All Over Again: Obama Still More Popular Than Clinton

By Zachary Goldfarb

Zachary Goldfarb is a junior at Rutgers University. Evan is a research assistant with the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling and the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.


Many people claim that a Hillary Clinton presidency would simply translate into a third Obama term. Yet, according to our October Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, 15 percent of New Jersey registered voters who viewed Obama favorably held an unfavorable opinion of Clinton. This difference in favorability can be found among all demographic groups, with Clinton trailing Obama in all categories.

Obama holds a higher favorability rating than Clinton among all recorded racial groups. Among white voters, Obama holds a 6-point favorability advantage over Clinton (41 percent to 35 percent). Similarly, Obama surpasses Clinton among black voters, with a 6-point difference (93 percent to 87 percent). Likewise, Obama holds an advantage over Clinton among Hispanics (74 percent to 58 percent). Although Clinton does maintain a strong level of support from black and Hispanic communities, she is clearly having more trouble garnering support among these groups than Obama has had.

When it comes to age, Clinton falls behind Obama among all groups. This difference is most evident among those 18-29 years old, where Obama leads in favorability by 19 points (64 percent to 45 percent). While Obama’s favorability remains higher than Clinton’s in all other age groups, it is by a smaller margin. For those 30-49, 50-64, and 65+, Obama remains 5-8 points more favorable than Clinton. These results tell us that Clinton is struggling to excite all age groups the way Obama has, particularly millennials.

Surprisingly, Obama is more favorable than Clinton among both men and women. The gap among men remains large, with a nearly 12-point advantage favoring Obama (48 percent versus 36 percent). Women also favor Obama by a higher margin than Clinton, with a 6-point difference between them (58 percent versus 52 percent). This finding conflicts with the notion that, as a woman, Hillary would garner more support among female voters.

In order for Clinton to win over even more Obama supporters, she needs to work harder across all demographics. With the election a year away, we will continue tracking the favorability rating of both the current president and the Democratic frontrunner in New Jersey.

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