Despite President Bush’s unusual campaign stop in New Jersey, John Kerry appears to have broken out of what was a close race to open a lead. According to the most recent results from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s tracking poll of New Jersey, John Kerry leads George W. Bush among likely voters by a margin of 46%-40%. When leaners are included, Kerry leads by 49-41%, with 9% undecided and 1% scattered among others including Nader.
“Kerry is nearing the critical 50 percent mark,” said Bruce Larson, professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University and survey analyst for PublicMind, “while Bush appears to be standing still. It’s difficult for an incumbent to make up ground this late in the campaign, and Bush may be nearing the limits of his support in the state.”
A majority of New Jersey’s likely voters agree that Kerry is the favorite to win the state. Almost two-thirds (64%) continue to say that Kerry will take the Garden State’s 15 electoral votes, while only 20% say Bush will win in a state his father won in 1988 but lost in 1992.
“The President’s approval ratings, voters’ dissatisfaction with the state of the nation, and the war effort in Iraq, all stack up against him,” added Larson. A majority (52%) say the country is on the wrong track. A majority (56%) rate the President’s overall performance as only fair or poor. A majority (54%) say the military effort in Iraq is going “not too well” or “not well at all.” And 52% continue to maintain that going to war in Iraq was a mistake. “Given these numbers, it’s not surprising that even men, who often favor Republicans, are leaning toward the Democratic challenger,” said Larson.
The PublicMind tracking poll of 503 likely voters was conducted from Oct. 13 through Oct. 21 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points.
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