The governor has made no headway among voters with his sweeping proposal to restructure New Jersey’s finances by selling bonds against future toll revenues. According to the most recent results from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind, voters are listening to the governor: 62% say they’ve heard a lot about the governor’s proposal and 95% say they’ve heard something about it while just 5% say they’ve heard nothing at all. But 59% say they oppose the governor’s plan while 33% say they support it and just 8% are not decided.
Public employee households oppose the plan (58-35) by the same margins as other citizens who are not employed by the state (59-34). And those who don’t need the NJ Turnpike and Garden State Parkway to commute to work are just about as likely to oppose the plan (58-34) as those who depend on the Turnpike and Parkway to get to work (61-36).
Democrats oppose the plan by a margin of 5 to 4 (51-40) while independents and Republicans oppose it by margins of better than 2 to 1 (62-27 and 68-28).
“This could be a long uphill slog for the governor,” said Peter Woolley, a political scientist and director of the poll. “Whatever the marketing plan was for this proposal, it has not gotten the governor out of the gate very quickly. It has gained attention but little support as yet.”
The governor’s job approval rating continues to drift downward. He is close to even with 41% approving and 39% disapproving compared to 44%-36% reported a week ago, and 48%-32% just before the state-of-the-state address on January 7 in which he made his proposal. Last October before the state’s elections of the entire assembly and senate, the governor’s approval stood at 51%-29% as it did in January a year ago. “The governor has been promising New Jersey hard choices; and now that he has offered them, voters are not convinced that he is offering the right options,” said Woolley.
Just 28% of New Jersey voters say the state is on the right track while 61% say things are on the wrong track. That is a higher percentage of wrong track answers than any PublicMind poll measured in 2007. A majority of Democrats agree the state is on the wrong track (53%) while just a third of Democrats (35%) say things are headed in the right direction. Meanwhile, large majorities of Republicans (73%) and independents (71%) also say the state is on the wrong track. Among those who oppose the toll plan, three of four (76%), in effect, agree with the governor that the state is on the wrong track.
The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of 906 registered voters statewide was conducted from January 21 through January 27 and has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.
Contact: Peter Woolley 973.670.3239
For more information, please call (973) 443-8661.