The Rockefeller Center’s fifth annual New Hampshire State of the State Poll surveyed a sample of New Hampshire registered voters (N=403) on April 2-5, 2012 to get voter opinions on policy issues, elected officials, and the state of the economy in New Hampshire and in the United States. Sample demographics and polling methodology are summarized at the end of this report.
The poll indicates that voters have perceived an improvement in the national economy since last year. The proportion of respondents rating the economy “excellent”, “good”, or “fair” has increased from 38.6 percent last year to 53.9 percent this year. The proportion of respondents expressing economic optimism has also increased. More than double the number of respondents would prefer that state legislators focus on building a strong economy before balancing the state budget and most respondents believe that the federal deficit should be resolved with a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. President Obama’s job approval rating has increased from 36.4 percent to 39.2 percent over the same period.
In a head-to-head matchup for president, Mitt Romney has a slight lead on Barack Obama, with Romney receiving support from 43.9 percent of respondents and Obama receiving support from 42.4 percent of respondents. The remaining 13.7 percent are unsure of the vote choice. This result is within the margin of error for the survey (+-4.9 percent).
On many of the tabular presentations that follow, demographic variables are presented to provide additional information regarding voter preferences. Variables included are: party identification, ideology, sex, age, and income. For partisan identification, 27.2 percent of respondents identified as Democrats, 33.7 percent identified as Republicans, and 38.1 percent registered as undeclared or independent. Regarding respondents' ideology, 23.1 percent of respondents identified as liberals, 44.6 percent identified as moderates, and 32.1 percent identified as conservatives. The sample is divided roughly evenly on gender with 52.1 percent male and 47.9 percent female respondents. Regarding age, 29.2 percent of respondents are between the ages of 18 and 49 while 32.8 percent of respondents are between the ages of 50 and 64; the remaining respondents (28.0 percent) are 65 and older. Regarding household incomes of respondents for 2011, 18.9 percent of respondents earned less than $40,000 and 41.3 percent of respondents earned between $40,000 and $100,000; the remaining 28.2 percent of respondents earned $100,000 or more. The complete survey instrument is included in the Appendix.