Minner, yes. Lease the Turnpike: no.
Headed into her final year as governor of Delaware, Ruth Ann Minner maintains a positive approval/disapproval rating of 51-32 percent. According to the most recent survey results from Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind, a majority of Democrats (57%) give her job performance the thumbs up while about half of Republicans (51%) agree. Minner also maintains a 5:4 ratio of favorable to unfavorable opinion, essentially unchanged from last year.
As for some of the possible successors to the governor, fewer than half of registered voters (46%) have heard of State Treasurer Jack Markell while 62% of voters say they know of Lt. Gov. John Carney. Among those who say they know Markell, 55% have a favorable opinion, while 11% have an unfavorable opinion, and a third, 35%, have no opinion. Among those who say they have heard of Carney, 47% say their opinion is favorable, just 12% say their opinion is unfavorable, but another 39% have no opinion. “Clearly the candidates for governor have much work ahead,” said Peter J. Woolley, a professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University and director of the poll. “A majority of voters either don't know these politicians or have formed no opinion of them.”
Many of Delaware's other statewide elected officials also enjoy good ratings from the public: Senator Joe Biden who as declared himself a candidate for President has a 2:1 favorable to unfavorable ratio (60-28%), while Senator Tom Carper has better than a 4:1 ratio (69-15%), as does representative Mike Castle (69-14%). On the other hand, Beau Biden, the newly elected Attorney General and son of the Presidential candidate, has not changed his numbers much since a pre-election poll in October: 39% favorable and 23% unfavorable with 38% unsure.
Behind the robust numbers for the long standing incumbent governor is the feeling that the state is moving in the right direction. A majority of voters (54%) say the state is headed in the right direction, while 30% say it's on the wrong track and 16% are not sure.
One issue voters are not so positive about is the leasing of the Delaware Turnpike (I-95) to a private entity. A majority of voters (58%) say leasing the turnpike is a “bad idea” while a quarter (26%) are undecided and just 16% say it's a “good idea.” These opinions do not vary by political affiliation: majorities of Democrats, independents, and Republicans say it's a bad idea, as do majorities of conservatives, liberals, and moderates. The opinions of Delaware voters are very similar on this point to those of New Jersey voters polled on the same question in January after the governor of that state suggested leasing the New Jersey Turnpike might be a good financial strategy.
“Voters have tolerated selling naming rights to public buildings,” said Woolley “but it remains to be seen whether they will be willing to sell public throughways to private owners.”
The PublicMind poll of 618 randomly selected registered voters statewide was conducted by telephone from February 20 through February 25 and has a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.
Contact: Peter Woolley 973.670.3239; Dan Cassino 973.896.7072
For more information, please call (973) 443-8661.