Rutgers-Eagleton poll: Most NJ voters don’t trust…. polls
The latest Rutgers-Eagleton poll related to the 2020 election shows Democratic candidate Joe Biden continues to have a healthy lead over President Donald Trump among likely New Jersey voters, 61% to 39%. But does anyone actually believe those numbers?
In the poll released Thursday, just 9% of registered Garden State voters said they have a "great deal" of trust in public opinion polls to correctly predict the winner of the Nov. 3 election. More than half said they trust public opinion polls "not very much" or "not at all."
"There's been a lot of buzz about whether or not what happened in 2016 is going to happen again in 2020," Ashley Koning, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University, told New Jersey 101.5.
National polls in 2016 showed Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton, leading the race up until Election Day. In the end, Trump secured the presidency with the 270+ electoral votes necessary to win the race. Clinton did secure millions of more individual votes from Americans.
Because of skepticism about polling during this election cycle, Koning suggested 2020 is potentially consequential for the future of the survey industry.
"But we have to remember that surveys are blunt instruments and snapshots in time," she said. "They cannot account for the number of other factors that affect Election Day results, like late turnout and late movement of undecided and third-party voters. Polls are not meant to be predictive but rather explanatory, a scientific estimate of why people feel and do what they do."
For the record, Rutgers-Eagleton's poll of New Jersey voters in September 2016 predicted a double-digit win for Clinton at the polls in the Garden State, and that did occur. It's been decades since New Jersey was a contested state in presidential elections — and 2020 is no different.
Close to half of the registered voters surveyed in the poll said they've already voted. Almost every respondent who hadn't yet voted said they will definitely do so in the coming days. The poll gathered responses from 1,001 adults from October 18-24.
Mirroring other polls, a healthy majority (61%) of likely New Jersey voters in the Rutgers-Eagleton poll said they're in support of the ballot question that would legalize recreational marijuana in this state.
During a Thursday afternoon press event, Gov. Phil Murphy shared that more than 2.9 million ballots had already been returned in New Jersey in the primarily-by-mail 2020 election.