October 15, 2009 - Merge Local Services To Cut Taxes, NJ Voters Say 2-1, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Slim Majority Back State Worker Layoffs, Furloughs

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New Jersey voters support 65 - 28 percent merging local governments and school districts to reduce property taxes, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Support is consistent across the political spectrum and in every region of the state.

By a slim 51 - 43 percent margin, New Jersey voters support layoffs or furloughs for state workers to help balance the budget, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Democrats oppose worker cutbacks 57 - 36 percent. The move wins 60 - 34 percent support from Republicans and 58 - 37 percent backing from independent voters.

By a much larger 69 - 25 percent margin, voters say state employees should pay more for health care. Even Democrats support this move 67 - 28 percent.

New Jersey voters oppose 61 - 36 percent raising the gas tax to pay for road and mass transit improvements, with opposition from all political and regional groups.

Voters also oppose 61 - 35 percent broadening the sales tax to cover things like seashore rentals and legal fees. Again, the opposition covers all groups.

"Policy wonks always favor the idea of merging municipalities and school districts. As property taxes soar, more and more voters agree," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"The devil, of course, is in the details. Let's see how many New Jersey politicians are willing to vote themselves or their friends out of a job."

"Broaden the sales tax to include things such as lawyer's fees and seashore rentals? No way, say three fifths of New Jerseyans. Raise gasoline taxes as independent Christopher Daggett suggested in the first governor's debate? No way, again by more than 60 percent."

New Jersey voters split 44 - 46 percent on whether teacher unions are playing a positive or negative role in improving New Jersey's educational system. Democrats say 58 - 29 percent that teacher unions play a positive role. Unions get a 57 - 34 percent negative vote from Republicans and a 56 - 36 percent thumbs down from independent voters. Looking at other education questions, New Jersey voters:
  • Support 70 - 27 percent merit pay for teachers who do an outstanding job;
  • Support 67 - 28 percent making it easier to fire teachers;
  • Oppose school vouchers 52 - 46 percent;
  • Oppose charter schools 49 - 42 percent.
"Voters don't much like charter schools or school vouchers," Carroll said.

"Are teacher unions a positive or negative? Voters are divided. But they'd like to do a couple of things that the union opposes - put in merit pay for good teachers and make it easier to fire bad teachers."

From October 7 - 12, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,264 New Jersey likely voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 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 or RSS feed- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

6. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              25%    10%    44%    17%    22%    28%
Disapprove           62     78     41     73     70     55
DK/NA                13     12     15     10      8     17
 
                                          Philly
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Approve              39%    23%    27%    21%    23%
Disapprove           46     62     64     65     68
DK/NA                15     15     10     15      9
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Oct 15  Sep 30  Sep 1   Aug 11  Jul 14
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009
 
Approve              25      24      25      23      27
Disapprove           62      61      64      63      59
DK/NA                13      15      11      15      13
 
 
7. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              55%    19%    86%    52%    51%    60%
Disapprove           40     76     10     43     45     36
DK/NA                 5      4      4      5      4      5
 
                                          Philly
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Approve              76%    55%    45%    64%    44%
Disapprove           19     41     48     32     52
DK/NA                 5      4      8      4      4
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.................
                     Oct 15  Sep 30  Sep 1   Jul 14
                     2009    2009    2009    2009
 
Approve              55      56      51      60
Disapprove           40      39      43      34
DK/NA                 5       5       6       6
 
 
8. 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?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Very satisfied        3%     1%     7%     1%     3%     3%
Smwht satisfied      29      9     50     27     27     31
Smwht dissatisfied   30     36     24     31     28     32
Very dissatisfied    37     54     19     41     42     33
DK/NA                 -      -      -      -      -      -
 
                                          Philly
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Very satisfied        3%     4%     5%     2%     1%
Smwht satisfied      44     33     19     33     22
Smwht dissatisfied   27     27     36     32     29
Very dissatisfied    26     36     40     34     47
DK/NA                 -      -      -      -      -
 
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?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Oct 15  Sep 30  Sep 1   Aug 11  Sep 28
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2005
 
Very satisfied        3       2       2       4       3
Smwht satisfied      29      30      28      29      34
Smwht dissatisfied   30      33      32      30      33
Very dissatisfied    37      34      37      36      28
DK/NA                 -       -       1       1       -
 
 
22. One recommendation to raise the money needed to fund a cut in property taxes is to merge neighboring municipal governments and school districts. Would you support or oppose merging school districts or governments in the county in which you live if it meant lowering your property taxes?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Support              65%    66%    65%    65%    68%    62%
Oppose               28     28     28     29     26     30
DK/NA                 6      6      6      7      6      7
 
                                          Philly
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Support              56%    63%    68%    64%    73%
Oppose               38     29     27     30     20
DK/NA                 5      8      5      6      7
 
 
23. To help finance road improvements and mass transportation, would you support or oppose an increase in the gasoline tax?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Support              36%    24%    44%    39%    43%    30%
Oppose               61     71     52     60     55     66
DK/NA                 3      6      4      1      2      4
 
                                          Philly
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Support              38%    35%    37%    43%    30%
Oppose               59     61     62     55     65
DK/NA                 4      5      1      2      5
 
 
24. To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose - layoffs or furloughs for state employees?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Support              51%    60%    36%    58%    59%    43%
Oppose               43     34     57     37     36     50
DK/NA                 6      5      7      5      5      7
 
                                          Philly
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Support              43%    51%    51%    46%    60%
Oppose               53     42     43     50     34
DK/NA                 4      7      7      4      6
 
 
25. To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose - more state employee contributions for health care?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Support              69%    70%    67%    70%    71%    67%
Oppose               25     24     28     22     24     26
DK/NA                 6      5      5      8      5      7
 
                                          Philly
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Support              63%    65%    72%    69%    76%
Oppose               29     27     23     26     20
DK/NA                 9      8      5      5      4
 
 
26. To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose - broadening the sales tax to cover things like legal fees and seashore rentals?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Support              35%    26%    43%    35%    37%    33%
Oppose               61     70     53     61     60     62
DK/NA                 4      4      4      4      3      5
 
                                          Philly
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Support              41%    34%    27%    44%    30%
Oppose               55     60     70     52     66
DK/NA                 4      5      3      3      4
 
 
27. Do you support or oppose - cutting business taxes?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Support              56%    73%    41%    56%    63%    49%
Oppose               38     21     52     38     33     44
DK/NA                 6      6      7      6      4      8
 
                                          Philly
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Support              41%    53%    51%    66%    63%
Oppose               55     41     43     28     29
DK/NA                 4      6      6      5      8
 
 
28. Do you favor or oppose providing parents with tax money in the form of school vouchers to help pay for their children to attend private or religious schools?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Favor                46%    55%    35%    49%    49%    43%
Oppose               52     41     62     48     48     54
DK/NA                 3      4      3      2      3      3
 
                                          Philly
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Favor                54%    47%    40%    47%    43%
Oppose               43     51     58     50     53
DK/NA                 3      3      2      3      4
 
TREND: Do you favor or oppose providing parents with tax money in the form of school vouchers to help pay for their children to attend private or religious schools?
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Oct 15  Oct 30
                     2009    2001
 
Favor                46      42
Oppose               52      51
DK/NA                 3       7
 
 
29. As you may know, charter schools are operated by private or non-profit organizations. The schools are paid for with tax dollars. Do you think there should be an expansion of charter schools in New Jersey or not?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Yes                  42%    41%    42%    45%    44%    41%
No                   49     50     48     47     48     49
DK/NA                 9      9     10      8      8     10
 
                                          Philly
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Yes                  49%    46%    40%    44%    34%
No                   44     46     47     47     58
DK/NA                 7      8     13      9      8
 
 
30. Generally speaking, do you believe the teachers' unions are playing a positive or a negative role in improving New Jersey's educational system?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Positive             44%    34%    58%    36%    42%    45%
Negative             46     57     29     56     50     41
DK/NA                11      9     13      8      8     13
 
                                          Philly
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Positive             44%    44%    38%    49%    43%
Negative             44     43     52     39     51
DK/NA                12     13     10     12      7
 
 
31. Some people say that public school teachers who do an outstanding job should be rewarded with additional pay - so called merit pay. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Good idea            70%    65%    74%    69%    73%    67%
Bad idea             27     32     23     29     25     30
DK/NA                 3      3      3      3      2      3
 
                                          Philly
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Good idea            78%    74%    62%    72%    64%
Bad idea             18     23     37     24     34
DK/NA                 4      3      2      3      3
 
 
32. Some people have suggested firing public school teachers should be made easier. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?
                     LIKELY VOTERS.........................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Good idea            67%    71%    56%    77%    73%    61%
Bad idea             28     23     38     18     23     31
DK/NA                 6      6      6      5      4      8
 
                                          Philly
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Good idea            61%    70%    68%    62%    69%
Bad idea             34     25     25     32     26
DK/NA                 5      5      8      6      5