By a margin of 2 to 1 (59%-30%) New Jersey’s likely voters say the state is headed in the wrong direction. But according to the latest survey by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind, voters will not be crossing party lines to express their dissatisfaction: 9 out of 10 (89%) Democrats and 8 of 10 Republicans (80%) say they will vote for their own party’s candidates for assembly and state senate.
Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say the state is on the right track (37%-21%), and Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say the state is on the wrong track (73%-47%). Nevertheless, among all those who say the state is on the wrong track, the split is even, with 39% preferring Republican candidates and 40% preferring Democrats. And among those who say the state is on the right track, Democratic candidates for the legislature are preferred by better than 2 to 1 (61%-24%).
“Even though so many voters are disgruntled, and even though there are many Republican candidates who are locally popular, voters who are not Republican do not see the Republican Party as the solution,” said Peter Woolley, a political scientist and director of the poll.
Meanwhile, 48% of likely voters say they have a favorable impression of the governor, against 34% who say their impression of him is unfavorable. At the same time, 42% of voters rate the governor’s job performance as “good” or “excellent,” and another 38% say he does “only fair,” but only 17% rate his performance as “poor.” In fact, more Republicans rate his job performance as “only fair” (46%) than as “poor” (30%). “If he can’t even get a terrible review from Republican voters, I’d say the governor is in pretty good shape,” said Woolley.
In the end, half of likely voters (51%) approve of the job Corzine is doing as governor, while less than an third (29%) disapprove, little changed over the course of the past year. “Even if voters are unhappy with the direction of the state, they don’t see this election as a referendum on Jon Corzine,” said Woolley.
The governor is seen in a considerably better light than New Jersey’s other two statewide elected officials. Fewer than a third of voters have a favorable opinion of Senator Bob Menendez and as many have a unfavorable as have a favorable view of the freshman senator. In addition, a third of voters (31%) who recognize veteran senator Frank Lautenberg have no opinion of him, favorable or unfavorable. Ann Milgram, the state’s newest attorney general who has been constantly in the news during her brief tenure is unrecognized by 85% of voters.
Nine of ten voters (89%) agree that their Garden State has at least the same or more dishonest politicians compared to other states. But Democrats by a 2 to 1 margin (60%-28%) say the state has no more than other states while it’s Republicans (by 55%-39%) and independents (by 51%-36%) who say New Jersey has more. “Democrats do not see corruption as a knock on their party alone,” added Woolley, “and they certainly don’t see it as a reason to cross party lines.”
Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind poll of 701 likely voters statewide was conducted from October 22 through October 28 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.