Corzine’s Public Standing Unhurt

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Republican Response

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Governor Corzine suffered no injuries to his public opinion ratings in the past several weeks while recuperating from a serious car crash. According to the latest survey by Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind, 58% of Garden State voters who recognize Jon Corzine, say they have a favorable opinion of him, compared to 53% in March, while 28% say they have an unfavorable opinion of him, compared to 30% in March.

Democrats have a favorable opinion of the governor by a wide margin: 69% to 18%.  Even among Republicans, the governor breaks better than even, with 41% saying they have a favorable opinion and 39% who say their impression is unfavorable.  “For now it would appear that the governor's standing with voters is unscathed,” said Peter J. Woolley, a political scientist and director of the poll. “This means that he has a much better chance of being effective as he gets back to work.”

The percentage of voters saying the state is headed in the right direction has been edging up. A year ago during April's budget negotiations it touched a low of 26%. Now, 42% say the state is headed in the right direction while 44% say it's on the wrong track.

However, no progress has been made in changing the public's view of leasing the NJ Turnpike or state lottery: 63% say leasing the turnpike to a private company is a bad idea compared to just 14% who say it's a good idea.  Likewise, 63% say leasing the state lottery to a private company is a bad idea while 16% say it is a good idea. A majority of voters (54%) say they've heard little or nothing about the proposals. “The governor may have lost valuable time in persuading the public to accept these novel ideas for financing the state's spending appetite,” said Woolley.

But it's Richard Codey who has the eye-popping numbers. While some voters (15%) still don't recognize his name, among those who do 73% have a favorable opinion of him against just 8% who don't like him, a 9 to 1 ratio.  In fact, even among Republicans he comes out ahead by a 6 to 1 margin.  “What can you say? People like this guy. If he could sing, he'd be a rock star,” added Woolley.  Two-thirds of voters give the acting governor a job rating of “excellent” or “good” while just 16% rate his recent stint as “only fair” and just 3% say “poor.”

In this unusual situation where the governor is recuperating from serious injuries, 45% of voters would have advised the acting governor to do as he thinks Governor Corzine wants, while 34% said he should do as he thinks best. “As much as they like Codey, voters recognize that it's Corzine not Codey who has the mandate to govern,” said Woolley.

As for other statewide officials, Frank Lautenberg maintains a 2:1 ratio of favorable to unfavorable opinion (51-23%) and Bob Menendez trails other statewide officials badly. Among voters who recognize the new senator, 30% have a favorable opinion and 35% have an unfavorable opinion.

Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind poll of 648 randomly selected registered voters statewide was conducted from May 1 through May 6 and has a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.


Contact: Peter Woolley 973.670.3239 or Dan Cassino 973.896.7072

For more information, please call (973) 443-8661.

Copyright © 2007, Fairleigh Dickinson University. All rights reserved. FDU PublicMind Poll [Latest update 070508]