Tom Kean easily tops the field for "best governor of New Jersey." But, according to a recent statewide voter survey by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind, the title of "worst governor" is disputable. Jim McGreevey and Christine Whitman tie. Tom Kean polled 32%, eleven percentage points ahead of his nearest competitor. He was the choice of both men and women, Democrats as well as Republicans, both liberals and conservatives, primary voters of both major parties, and voters from North and South Jersey.
"Governor Kean managed to remain popular even when he was governor, and that’s a difficult feat in this state," said Bruce Larson, professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University and survey analyst for the PublicMind. "And his service as chair of the 9-11 Commission put him in the national spotlight as a conciliator and consensus builder—enhancing his reputation among New Jerseyans even further." As for the worst governor, Jim McGreevey and Christie Whitman both garnered 26%. Jim Florio was a close third with 21%. McGreevey and Whitman maintained that tie among both men and women. The difference was in party affiliation: 40% of Democrats chose Whitman as the worst governor and only 15% chose McGreevey as the worst. Among Republicans, 42% chose McGreevey as the worst governor, 28% chose Florio and only 8% chose Whitman. However, Independents differed significantly from Republicans, giving Whitman the nod with 30% over both Florio (22%) and McGreevey (20%). "Interestingly, partisanship seems to play more of a role in choosing the worst governor than in choosing the best," added Larson. Other differences that emerged were between the married and unmarried, and between whites and non-whites. Married voters chose McGreevey as the worst governor but voters who are not married chose Whitman. Whites also chose Jim McGreevey as the worst governor but non-whites chose Whitman. And while whites chose Kean as the best governor, non-whites said McGreevey was the best governor.
were given six names to choose from in the poll or "someone else."
Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind poll of 800 registered voters
statewide was conducted from January 2 through January 9 and has a margin
of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.
Bruce Larson 973.769.1401
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