PPP finds Barack Obama's approval rating at 53% in New Jersey, a level below that found in any other public polling since he took office, and a result fitting the trend of his slowly declining numbers nationally.
As is the case in most places Obama's numbers are highly polarized on party lines, with 88% of Democrats but only 13% of Republicans giving him good reviews. Independents are pretty much split down the middle with 46% viewing his performance unfavorably and 43% giving him positive marks.
Obama continues to be very popular with the minority groups who gave him large majorities at the polls in the state last year- 85% of African Americans and 68% of Hispanics say they like the job he's doing. But among whites he's dropped into slightly negative territory with 47% disapproving to 46% approval.
Obama is a good deal more popular than the state's two Senators. Bob Menendez's numbers are particularly troubling with just 32% of respondents saying they like the job he's doing with 43% viewing it unfavorably and 25% without an opinion. Particularly striking are his numbers among independents, just 14% of whom express approval for his job performance. In other words, with Obama's approval at 43% with independents, less than one third of those who approve of the President's performance also approve of Menendez's. Independent voters almost by definition look down on excess partisanship, and his gig as head of the DSCC may be turning off some in that group.
Of course it's a long way to 2012 so it's not like Menendez has that much to worry about at this point- and there are plenty of examples in recent New Jersey history of voters expressing dislike for a politician and then reelecting him anyway. Frank Lautenberg is a good case in point- polling in 2006 showed him as one of the least popular Senators in the country and in late 2007 just 36% of voters in the state said he should be reelected. He nevertheless won an easy 56-42 victory last fall. Candidates can improve their numbers when they take to the airwaves and get to define themselves in a positive manner, and Republicans frequently just haven't nominated strong enough candidates to take advantage of some of these weak points.
Speaking of Lautenberg, his personal numbers are 41% approving and 46% disapproving.
Full results here