fdu_public_mind_pollMADISON, NJ - The president’s approval is up in New Jersey, and the “wrong direction” number is down. According the latest poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind™, 51% of New Jersey voters say they approve of the way the president is handling his job, while 42% percent disapprove, a significant improvement from the president’s lukewarm 46%-45% approval in January.  Men, in fact, are more likely to disapprove of the president (49%) than to approve (43%), but women approve of the president by a margin of 24 points (58%-34%).

“National Republicans are a turnoff to many women voters recently,” said Peter Woolley, director of the poll. “Rick Santorum and Rush Limbaugh have combined to alarm, if not completely alienate, pro-choice women.”

In trial heats, Obama handily beats each of the still-standing Republican candidates for president.  Against Mitt Romney he coasts 50%-37%. Against Ron Paul he wins 52%-34%.  Against Santorum, Obama’s margin widens to 54%-33%, and against Newt Gingrich to 56%-29%.

In every case, the president’s wide margin is accounted for in women’s votes. Women give the president margins from 27 points against Romney (57-30), to 40 points over Gingrich (63-23).

Obama’s dominance is despite a majority of New Jersey voters saying the nation is headed the wrong way: Just 37% say the country is going in the “right direction,” while 53% say it’s “on the wrong track.”  The 53% is actually an eight point decline from 61% measured in January, but contrasts sharply to 51% who say the state is headed in the right direction as reported yesterday.

“The story so far in the primary season is that no Republican candidate has been able to take advantage of voters’ dissatisfaction with the direction of the country,” said Woolley. “Instead they have spent much of their time and energy trying to take advantage of each other’s weaknesses.”

A majority of voters (53%) say the long, difficult Republican primary contest will “weaken the Republican candidate who runs against President Obama in November. Just one in four (27%) say the hard fought primary will strengthen the Republican who wins the nomination."

The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of 800 registered voters statewide was conducted by telephone using both landlines and cell phones from Mar. 5 through Mar. 11, 2012, and has a margin of error of +/-3.5 percentage points.