April 22, 2019 | 52° F

Rutgers-Eagleton poll finds GOP frontrunner Donald Trump evokes negative feelings from NJ voters


A Trump group on campus is telling students to opt-out of the NJPIRG term bill fee. (Flickr)

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and his slogan, "Make America Great Again," may arouse fear and anger from N.J. voters rather than feelings of greatness. 

According to a statewide Rutgers-Eagleton poll, 61 percent of voters said Trump makes them feel angry because of “the kind of person he is or something he has done,” while 57 percent say he makes them feel afraid.

By comparison, 37 percent of respondents reported that Trump makes them feel hopeful, and 34 percent said Trump evokes enthusiasm.

Politics and emotions go hand-in-hand, said David Redlawsk, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling and a professor in the Department of Political Science, in a press release.

“The intensity of emotional responses to Donald Trump may be unique for a frontrunner,” he said. “That nearly half of all voters feel contempt when considering him is astounding and is no doubt driven by his own contemptuous rhetoric.”

Still, 30 percent view Trump favorably. Eighteen percent of those voters said they admire his anti-establishment, political outsider persona, while 10 percent support Trump because they believe he is a good businessman.

Sean Lindenau, a School of Arts and Sciences senior and Trump supporter, said the candidate’s lack of ties to Washington is “refreshing.”

“Knowing how much money is involved with the corruption, seeing a man who is not part of it is refreshing and brings me to a level of optimism that I had never had,” Lindenau said in an email to The Daily Targum.

Nineteen percent of respondents who viewed him favorably said they like Trump because of his policy positions. Trump’s trade policy is a major reason Lindenau supports the candidate.

“Many companies, including Apple (and) Nabisco, have taken millions of jobs from this country and placed them in other countries,” Lindenau said. “These are low-skill jobs of which many in poverty could use to help lift them out. About 45 million Americans are stuck below the poverty line and I am sure they would take a job if they had the opportunity, but our current trade deals ship jobs overseas on a silver plate.”

Trump has proposed a 45 percent tariff on imports, which would bring low-skill jobs to the country while also increasing the cost of U.S. goods for consumers.

According to the poll, 31 percent of detractors said Trump’s character, personality or attitude are the root of their dislike for the GOP frontrunner. Eleven percent said their dislike stems from his policy positions and beliefs, while 9 percent believe Trump is racist.

Fifty-five percent of respondents said Trump generally goes too far in some of the things he says, but 30 percent believe he is saying what other people are thinking.

“His loud and brash personality can put some people off … I think his words just reflect the state and most people are beginning to realize and embrace it,” Lindenau said.

Avalon Zoppo is the managing editor of The Daily Targum. She is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in political science. Follow her on Twitter @AvalonZoppo for more stories.

Avalon Zoppo

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