This morning’s Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind poll shows fewer than one in five New Jersey voters (18%) say the country is headed in the right direction; 71% say the country is “off on the wrong track.”
“That is a steep dive from the 34% who said the country was going in the right direction in May,” said Peter Woolley, a political scientist and director of the poll. “You have to go back to the last days of the Bush administration to find such pessimism.” In October 2008 just 13% said the country was headed in the right direction and 78% said it was on the wrong track.
Voters are split on President Barack Obama, with 44% approving and 47% disapproving.
Woolley said that is down dramatically from 55%-36% approvals in May after the killing of terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden. It is also the first time since Obama took office, through 18 PublicMind polls, that his disapprovals have exceeded his approvals in this state which leans distinctly Democratic.
“The killing of Osama Bin Laden gave the president a very temporary boost. But people put that behind them quickly, and are thinking about economic problems,” said Woolley.
More voters harbor worries that government debt is sinking the economy than fret that the government doesn’t spend enough to stimulate growth. One-third (32%) say the federal government needs to spend more money to get the economy going — not cut the budget. But a majority (54%) say the government needs to cut its debt to fix its finances—not spend more money.
Woolley conducted the poll of 800 registered voters statewide by telephone using both landlines and cell phones from Sept. 19 through Sept. 25.
It has a margin of error of +/-3.5 percentage points.