New Jersey took center stage with Republicans last night, with Gov. Chris Christie's keynote address to the national GOP. But President Barack Obama remains firmly ahead of him in the hearts of state voters, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton poll, which found a 14-point lead for Obama over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Among likely voters polled last week, 51 percent said they would vote for Obama, while 37 percent named Romney. This despite the fact that a majority of those polled (57 percent) said the country is on the wrong track.
The key for the spread? Voters dislike Romney -- only 38 percent view him favorably -- while 49 percent are unfavorable. Obama leads Romney in terms of the economy and jobs, by 46 percent to 42 percent, and is favored on Social Security and Medicare, 73 percent to 14 percent.
The other basic building block for Obama is the support of women, who prefer the president to Romney 58 percent to 32 percent. Men also give Obama a slight edge, 45 percent to 42 percent. Independents also prefer Obama, 44 percent to 36 percent.
Romney is preferred by white voters, Catholics, and those who earn more than $100,000 a year. But those slight edges -- white voters prefer Romney by eight percentage points -- are solidly offset by nonwhite voters. What's more, only 78 percent of Republicans say they have a favorable impression of Romney, while only 4 percent of Democrats dislike Obama.