The idea of adding an elected Lt. Governor is supported by 61% of likely voters and has majority support across party lines, according to the most recent poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind. At the same time, Richard Codey, who presumably will become the acting governor in November, remains a relative unknown. Fully 59% of the state’s likely voters say they have never heard of him. That is nonetheless an improvement from a month ago when two-thirds of registered voters said they never heard of him.
New Jerseyans are somewhat more optimistic about the direction of the state than they were in August just after the Governor’s revelations. Now, 40% say the state is headed in the right direction while in late August only 31% said so—a record low in McGreevey’s term as governor. But 48% percent still think the state is “off on the wrong track”—little changed from the 51% who said so in August after the Governor announced his resignation.
“The Governor’s willingness to curb pay-to-play politics in the state has been well received,” said Bruce Larson, professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University and survey analyst for the PublicMind. “Ironically, the Governor could push a reform popular with voters only after he was freed from concerns about his political future.”
A bare majority (52%) of likely voters say it was not necessary for the governor to resign. While Democrats and Republicans take opposite sides on the question, a majority of independents (53%) agree the resignation was not necessary. In August, shortly after the Governor’s announcement, a PublicMind poll of registered voters found that only 42% thought it was unnecessary for the governor to resign, while 48% said it was.
Still, a majority (51%) of those likely to vote in November have an unfavorable view of the Governor compared to 47% who have a favorable view of him and 11% who are unsure. Almost everyone has heard of the Governor’s troubles and more than two-thirds (69%) say they’ve heard a great deal.
The PublicMind poll of 489 likely voters was conducted from September 23 through September 28 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points.
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