In New Jersey if you search long enough you’ll find something on which voters agree. According to a recent PublicMind poll, just two percent of New Jersey voters think the state has fewer dishonest politicians than other states while 93% say New Jersey has a least the same or more dishonest politicians than other states.
But don’t get too excited. There is disagreement over whether New Jersey has “more” than other states or merely “about the same”: 45% say the fertile Garden State grows more dishonest politicians, but 48% say ours are just the garden variety, the same compared to other states.
Results are similar to a June 2007 survey taken of registered voters, but very different from a 2001 survey in which just 14% said New Jersey has more dishonest politicians than others and 71% said New Jersey had just about the same. “The change in this measure suggests that the scandals of the McGreevey administration and Chris Christie’s prosecutions have had a serious effect on voters’ perceptions of corruption in the state,” said Peter Woolley, a political scientist and director of the poll.
Men are more likely than women to think New Jersey excels in dishonest politicians: while a majority of men (53%) say New Jersey has more, a majority of women (53%) say the state has about the same as others.
Likewise, a majority of Republicans (58%) say the state has more dishonest politicians than other states but a majority of Democrats (57%) say the state has about the same. Leroy Jones, a Democrat who served four terms in the state assembly said “the bottom line is that dishonest politicians are simply driven by their own greed and reckless behavior and are not institutionalized in the framework of either political party.” Michael Torpey, who served as chief of staff to Republican governor Christine Whitman, said the situation is “sad, sad, sad. The results demonstrate how cynical the New Jersey electorate has become over the past six years. This cynicism has created apathy that is reflected in lower voter turnout.” He added, “the greatest threat to democracy is not tyranny, it’s apathy.”
The PublicMind poll of 701 registered voters was conducted from September 17 through September 23 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.