December 11, 2007 - New Jersey Voters Back Life Without Parole Over Death, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Corzine Approval Split At Midterm

Word format

As the State Legislature debates the issue, New Jersey voters oppose 53 - 39 percent the proposal to eliminate the death penalty in the state, but by an almost identical 52 - 39 percent, they prefer life without parole rather than the death penalty for people convicted of first-degree murder, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Democratic voters support elimination of the death penalty 52 - 43 percent, while Republicans oppose the death ban 65 - 26 percent and independent voters oppose it 54 - 38 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Reversing the electoral math, Democratic voters prefer life without parole to the death penalty 65 - 27 percent, while Republicans prefer the death penalty 52 - 38 percent and independent voters prefer life without parole 49 - 40 percent.

By a substantial 78 - 18 percent margin, New Jersey voters would keep the death penalty for the most violent cases, such as serial killers and child killers.

"New Jersey voters are sharply divided over the death penalty. On one hand, a majority opposes repeal of the current law, but on the other, a majority favor life imprisonment with no chance of parole over death for a murderer. There is no doubt, however, when it comes to the most violent crimes: Most voters want death for serial murderers and child killers," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

New Jersey voters approve 46 - 43 percent of the job Gov. Jon Corzine is doing, down from a 49 - 40 percent approval in a September 25 Quinnipiac University poll.

Democrats approve of the Governor 67 - 22 percent, as Republicans disapprove 65 - 25 percent and independent voters split with 45 percent approving and 43 percent disapproving.

Voters split 44 - 43 percent on whether Gov. Corzine deserves to be reelected in 2009, as 41 percent say they would vote for Corzine while 31 percent say they would vote for a Republican candidate, even though no name is offered.

Only 38 percent of New Jersey voters are "very satisfied" or "somewhat satisfied" with they way things are going in the Garden State today, while 62 percent are "somewhat dissatisfied" or "very dissatisfied."

"Midway in his first term, voters are lukewarm about Gov. Jon Corzine and give his performance a mediocre rating. Most just think things have stayed about the same since he took over in Trenton," Richards said.

New Jersey voters oppose 59 - 29 percent selling or leasing the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway as a way of reducing the state's debt and possibly funding tax relief.

By an even larger 74 - 24 percent margin, voters oppose hiking the gasoline tax to help finance road and mass transit improvements.

Opposition narrows to 55 - 41 percent to a non-specific proposal which would double Turnpike and Parkway tolls over several years to help pay off state debt and finance road construction.

If forced to choose, New Jersey voters prefer a toll hike to a gasoline tax increase 70 - 18 percent.

"Without knowing the details of the Governor's plan to pay off the state debt, voters oppose 55 - 41 percent any plan that involves doubling tolls on the New Jersey Turnpike or Garden State Parkway. And they reject 3 - 1 any alternative that involves a gas tax hike. But if forced to pick, they would prefer almost 4 - 1 paying higher tolls than paying more for gas," Richards said.

From December 5 - 9, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,085 New Jersey voters with a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and nationally as a public service and for research. For more data -- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x271.xml, or call (203) 582-5201.

6. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jon Corzine is handling his job as Governor?
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 46% 25% 67% 45% 45% 47% Disapprove 43 65 22 43 46 40 DK/NA 11 10 11 12 9 13

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Approve 54% 49% 42% 50% 35% Disapprove 35 40 45 39 55 DK/NA 11 11 14 11 9

TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jon Corzine is handling his job as Governor?
                                                                Highest Lowest
                                                                Approve Approve
                        Dec 11  Sep 25  Jul 9   Apr 18  Feb 28  Apr 18  Apr 26
                        2007    2007    2007    2007    2007    2007    2006


Approve 46 49 48 51 50 51 35 Disapprove 43 40 39 36 34 36 42 DK/NA 11 11 13 13 16 13 23



7. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 28% 17% 41% 24% 30% 26% Disapprove 53 69 37 57 55 52 DK/NA 19 14 22 19 14 23

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Approve 35% 25% 26% 27% 30% Disapprove 49 54 57 54 52 DK/NA 16 21 18 20 18

TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                                                                Highest Lowest
                                                                Approve Approve
                        Dec 11  Sep 25  Jul 9   Apr 18  Feb 28  Jan 26  Jul 14
                        2007    2007    2007    2007    2007    2005    2006


Approve 28 30 30 32 31 44 20 Disapprove 53 54 52 49 52 31 71 DK/NA 19 16 18 19 17 25 10



8. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Frank Lautenberg is handling his job as United States Senator?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 42% 26% 57% 40% 44% 40% Disapprove 33 53 19 32 35 30 DK/NA 25 21 24 29 20 30

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Approve 48% 44% 37% 38% 42% Disapprove 33 28 42 31 32 DK/NA 19 28 21 31 25

TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Frank Lautenberg is handling his job as United States Senator? * - also 55% on 9/23/1999 & 7/22/1999

                                                                Highest Lowest
                                                                Approve Approve
                        Dec 11  Sep 25  Jul 9   Apr 18  Feb 28  Jul 27  Feb 28
                        2007    2007    2007    2007    2007    2000 *  2007


Approve 42 42 41 47 40 55 40 Disapprove 33 34 32 29 32 22 32 DK/NA 25 24 28 24 28 23 28



9. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Robert Menendez is handling his job as United States Senator?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 34% 17% 56% 27% 35% 33% Disapprove 34 50 18 37 40 28 DK/NA 32 33 26 35 25 38

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Approve 41% 37% 29% 32% 31% Disapprove 37 32 35 31 35 DK/NA 22 31 36 36 34

TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Robert Menendez is handling his job as United States Senator? * also 39% on 3/20/06 ** also 31% on 7/17/06

                                                                Highest Lowest
                                                                Approve Approve
                        Dec 11  Sep 25  Jul 9   Apr 18  Feb 28  Dec 7   Jul 9
                        2007    2007    2007    2007    2007    2006 *  2007 **


Approve 34 32 31 34 34 39 31 Disapprove 34 38 39 36 35 37 39 DK/NA 32 30 31 30 31 24 31



11. Looking ahead to the 2009 election for Governor, do you feel that Jon Corzine deserves to be reelected, or do you feel that he does not deserve to be reelected?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Yes 44 24 67 38 43 44 No 43 67 22 43 44 42 DK/NA 13 8 10 19 13 14

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Yes 55 45 40 46 33 No 28 41 49 41 56 DK/NA 17 14 11 13 11



12. If the 2009 election for Governor were being held today, do you think you would vote for Jon Corzine the Democratic candidate or the Republican candidate?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Corzine 41% 10% 76% 35% 37% 44% Republican 31 68 5 30 33 30 DEPENDS ON CANDIDATE (VOL) 16 14 12 19 17 15 DK/NA 12 8 7 16 14 11

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Corzine 62% 39% 35% 46% 26% Republican 18 31 38 30 40 DEPENDS ON CANDIDATE (VOL) 11 17 14 16 20 DK/NA 10 13 13 9 14



13. In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in New Jersey today? Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Very satisfied 3% 1% 5% 2% 4% 2% Smwht satisfied 35 22 55 29 31 38 Smwht dissatisfied 32 34 29 33 33 32 Very dissatisfied 30 42 10 35 32 27 DK/NA 1 1 1 - - 1

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Very satisfied 8% 3% 0% 2% 2% Smwht satisfied 39 35 38 32 29 Smwht dissatisfied 32 35 30 35 27 Very dissatisfied 22 26 31 30 41 DK/NA - 1 - 1 -

TREND: In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in New Jersey today? Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?

                        Dec 11  Feb 28  Dec 6   Jun 16  Apr 26  Mar 16  Jan 26
                        2007    2007    2006    2006    2006    2006    2006


Very satisfied 3 3 2 3 3 3 3 Smwht satisfied 35 37 34 27 33 44 39 Smwht dissatisfied 32 34 38 37 31 31 33 Very dissatisfied 30 25 25 32 33 20 23 DK/NA 1 1 1 1 1 1 1



14. Would you say Jon Corzine is doing a better job as governor than you expected, a worse job, or about what you expected?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Better 11% 8% 15% 9% 10% 11% Worse 22 29 15 25 26 20 As expected 63 60 68 60 60 65 DK/NA 4 3 3 5 4 4

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Better 13% 13% 7% 11% 8% Worse 17 23 18 22 33 As expected 61 61 73 64 54 DK/NA 9 3 2 3 4



15. Since Jon Corzine became Governor in January 2006, do you feel that things in New Jersey have gotten better, gotten worse, or stayed about the same?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Better 14% 8% 24% 9% 13% 14% Worse 25 43 12 23 25 25 The same 59 47 63 66 61 58 DK/NA 2 2 2 2 1 3

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Better 22% 15% 10% 12% 11% Worse 11 23 23 27 41 The same 65 60 66 58 47 DK/NA 2 2 1 4 1

TREND: Since Jon Corzine became Governor in January 2006, do you feel that things in New Jersey have gotten better, gotten worse, or stayed about the same? (* 2/28/07 question did not include "in January 2006")

                        Dec 11  Feb 28
                        2007    2007*


Better 14 20% Worse 25 15 The same 59 62 DK/NA 2 3



16. As you may know there is a proposal in New Jersey to eliminate the death penalty. Do you support or oppose eliminating the death penalty in New Jersey?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Support 39% 26% 52% 38% 36% 43% Oppose 53 65 43 54 57 49 DK/NA 8 9 6 8 7 8

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Support 43% 41% 40% 40% 32% Oppose 48 52 53 54 58 DK/NA 9 7 7 7 9

TREND: As you may know there is a proposal in New Jersey to eliminate the death penalty. Do you support or oppose eliminating the death penalty in New Jersey?

                        Dec 11  Jan 24
                        2007    2007


Support 39 41 Oppose 53 53 DK/NA 8 7



17. Which punishment do you prefer for people convicted of murder: the death penalty or life in prison with no chance of parole?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Death penalty 39% 52% 27% 40% 48% 31% Life/No parole 52 38 65 49 42 60 DK/NA 9 10 7 11 10 9

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Death penalty 36% 38% 39% 42% 42% Life/No parole 60 51 53 50 47 DK/NA 5 11 8 8 11

TREND: Which punishment do you prefer for people convicted of murder: the death penalty or life in prison with no chance of parole?

                        Dec 11  Jan 24  Mar 18
                        2007    2007    2003


Death penalty 39 41 49 Life/No parole 52 51 45 DK/NA 9 8 5



18. If the death penalty were abolished for most murder cases, would you support keeping it for the most violent cases such as serial killers and child killers?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Yes 78% 87% 70% 79% 79% 77% No 18 10 25 17 16 19 DK/NA 4 3 4 4 5 4

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Yes 76% 76% 80% 78% 80% No 19 20 17 18 14 DK/NA 6 4 3 4 6



19. Do you support or oppose selling or leasing the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway as a way of reducing New Jersey's debt and possibly providing money for tax relief?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Support 29% 27% 36% 25% 29% 29% Oppose 59 58 50 66 62 56 DK/NA 12 15 13 9 9 16

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Support 33% 32% 25% 28% 25% Oppose 56 55 61 61 62 DK/NA 11 13 14 11 13

TREND: Do you support or oppose selling or leasing the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway as a way of reducing New Jersey's debt and possibly providing money for tax relief?

                        Dec 11  Sep 25  Jul 9   Feb 28  Jan 24
                        2007    2007    2007    2007    2007


Support 29 29 31 34 34 Oppose 59 58 54 56 53 DK/NA 12 13 15 10 12



20. To help finance road improvements and mass transportation, would you support or oppose an increase in the gasoline tax?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Support 24% 19% 27% 24% 31% 17% Oppose 74 78 70 74 68 80 DK/NA 2 3 3 1 1 3

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Support 29% 26% 19% 22% 20% Oppose 68 72 79 76 76 DK/NA 3 2 2 2 4

TREND: To help finance road improvements and mass transportation, would you support or oppose an increase in the gasoline tax? (* 1/27/05 question did not include "and mass trans.")

                        Dec 11  Mar 16  Jan 26  Jan 27
                        2007    2006    2006    2005


Support 24 31 27 39 Oppose 74 67 69 57 DK/NA 2 3 3 4



21. Governor Corzine is proposing a major financial plan, part of which would likely double the tolls over a number of years on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway to help pay off the state debt and finance road construction. Would you support or oppose such an increase in tolls?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Support 41% 27% 49% 43% 43% 39% Oppose 55 69 47 53 55 56 DK/NA 4 4 4 4 2 5

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Support 43% 39% 41% 46% 37% Oppose 54 58 55 49 59 DK/NA 3 4 4 5 4



22. If you had to choose between a substantial toll increase or a gas tax hike, which would you prefer?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Toll increase 70% 67% 75% 70% 65% 75% Gas tax hike 18 17 19 17 24 13 DK/NA 12 16 6 13 11 12

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Toll increase 66% 69% 75% 76% 66% Gas tax hike 19 19 14 17 19 DK/NA 15 12 11 7 15