Not since Governor McGreevey resigned last August have so few thought the state was heading in the right direction and so many thought the state was off on the wrong track.
According to the most recent survey by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind, only 29% of voters say the state is headed in the right direction. That is down from 40% in January just before the Acting Governor’s state-of-the-state speech, and is less than the 31% registered just after Governor McGreevey’s resignation speech last August.
At the same time, the 59% who say the state is “off on the wrong track” exceeds the 51% who said so in August when McGreevey announced his resignation. Even Democrats by 49-39% margin say the state is headed in the wrong direction.
Nevertheless, views of Acting Governor Codey continue to be favorable. Now 78% of voters recognize his name as opposed to just 32% who recognized him last August. And he maintains an enviable favorable-to-unfavorable ratio of 2:1. But negative opinions of him have increased to 25% among those who say they know him from 7% just three months ago.
The Acting Governor’s job evaluations have also declined. While 44% rate him as “excellent” or “good,” up 3 points from three months ago, 47% rate his performance as “only fair” or “poor,” up from just 30% in January. And 33% think he ought to run for re-election while 49% want a new person in the job.
“Criticism and negative views just go with the territory,” said Peter Woolley, Executive Director of PublicMind and professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University. “People who govern must say no sometimes. People who govern under difficult circumstances have to say no a lot.”
Still, the Governor’s favorable-to-unfavorable ratio (2:1) continues to outpace that of Senator Jon Corzine (3:2) who is running virtually alone on the Democratic side for Codey’s job. But with 91% name recognition, Corzine outpaces other Democrats. And of those 91%, one quarter have not yet formed a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the Democratic candidate for Governor. “Corzine is in a good position,” added Woolley. “He is widely known and has room to grow his support.”
Meanwhile, George Norcross, former chair of the Camden County Democratic Party and reputed power broker, is unknown by two-thirds of voters. Yet, of the 31% who say they have heard of him, only 1 in 10 say they have a favorable opinion, while half say they have an unfavorable opinion.
Voters are least charitable to the state legislature. Only one in five voters say the law-makers in Trenton are doing a “good” or “excellent” job while two-thirds say “only fair” or “poor.” Low marks for the legislature come from Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike.
Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind poll of 800 registered voters was conducted from April 4 through April 10 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.
Bruce Larson 973.769.1401
Peter Woolley 973.670.3239
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