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Obama Carrying the Tattoed Vote, Says Eagleton Poll

Body art—or the lack of it—can predict politics, age and religion, according to a new Rutgers-Eagleton poll.

It's not sexy dragon magic, it's polling science, according to the Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics: New Jerseyans sporting ink are likelier to vote for Barack Obama this November (22 percent) than for Mitt Romney (14 percent).

Republicans are the least likely political demographic to have tattoos, according to the center, and only 16 percent of conservatives are into being a human canvas, whereas 20 percent of liberals and moderates have sat in the chair to make a dermal decision they may later regret.

Other New Jersey tattoo facts you didn’t know needed to be researched:

  • 40 percent of New Jersey voters born after 1980 have at least one tattoo
  • 19 percent of voters of all ages sport at least one tattoo
  • 62 percent of voters are proud of their body art, 6 percent regret their tats and 32 percent take a neutral view
  • 30 percent of voters who identify as nonreligious are inked, as compared with 18 percent of Evangelicals and 17 percent of Catholics
  • 18-to-29-year-olds are three times more likely than any other age group to consider a tattoo

And what would any tattoo study be without mentioning Jersey Shore?

“Shows like helped bring tattoos into the mainstream in the past few years,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers University.

“But even as ink goes mainstream, those without are far more likely to look down on their tattooed neighbors than to think better of them,” he said.

Eagleton researchers surmise that people associate tattoos with the Shore because of the body art on display on any given New Jersey boardwalk in the summer. In fact, tattoos are most common in urban areas (26 percent) and South Jersey (24 percent); only 18 percent of Shore residents have 'em.

“We suspect that a large share of the tattoos you see on beach-goers are on summer visitors,” Redlawsk said. “MTV’s Jersey Shore doesn’t represent the real thing, Pauly D’s tattoos notwithstanding.”

Rutgers-Eagleton survey results come from polling 916 registered voters statewide among both landline and cell phone households from Aug. 23-25. The sample has a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points.

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