November 24, 2009 - New Jersey Voters Say 3-1 Freeze State Worker Wages, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters Back Layoffs Almost 2-1

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New Jersey voters support 75 - 21 percent, including 70 - 26 percent among Democrats, a wage freeze for state workers to help balance the state budget, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today, three weeks after Christopher Christie toppled Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine. A wage freeze wins 75 - 20 percent support from independent voters and 79 - 16 percent backing from Republicans. Voters in union households back a wage freeze 62 - 33 percent.

Garden State voters also support 61 - 33 percent layoffs for state workers to help balance the state budget, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Support ranges from 50 - 43 percent among Democrats to 65 - 29 percent among independent voters to 69 - 25 percent among Republicans. Voters in union households split 49 - 48 percent.

A total of 97 percent of New Jersey voters say the state's budget problems are "very serious" or "somewhat serious."

Cut programs and services to balance the budget, 68 percent say, as 23 percent say raise taxes instead. Service cuts win 46 - 43 percent support from Democrats, 73 - 18 percent backing from independent voters and 86 - 8 percent backing from Republicans.

"If Governor-elect Christopher Christie wants to consider a wage freeze, New Jersey voters, even Democrats and union households, say send out for ice," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"And if he's thinking about swinging the ax, voters will help sharpen it.

"Garden State voters agree with their new Governor - overwhelmingly - that the state's in a fiscal mess. And they agree he should use the ax, not the tax, to solve the problem."

A total of 73 percent of New Jersey voters are "somewhat dissatisfied" or "very dissatisfied" with the way things are going in the state, the worst satisfaction rate ever measured in the Garden State. And incumbents are paying the price of this dissatisfaction, several with the lowest job approvals ever measured, as New Jersey voters:
  • Approve 51 - 42 percent of President Barack Obama, a new low;
  • Disapprove 59 - 31 percent of Gov. Corzine, his lowest ever as he walks out the door;
  • Disapprove 65 - 21 of the State Legislature as it begins a new term;
  • Split 40 - 41 percent in their approval of U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, his worst ever;
  • Split 36 - 37 percent on U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez.
While voters were not asked a job approval rating for Governor-elect Christie, he gets a mixed 36 - 25 percent favorability rating, with 37 percent who don't know enough about him to form an opinion.

The top target for budget cuts is economic development, 41 percent of voters say, followed by 30 percent for social services, 11 percent for education and 7 percent for health care.

If taxes must be raised, start with tolls, 30 percent say, followed by 28 percent for raising sales taxes, 15 percent for gas taxes and 13 percent for income taxes.

Voters give conflicting messages on other budget measures: 60 percent say keep state aid to local government and schools the same, as 20 percent say increase it and 16 percent say cut it; 45 percent say keep tax rebates the same, as 29 percent say increase them and 21 percent say cut; 62 - 37 percent oppose hiking the gas tax for road and transit improvements.

New Jersey voters oppose school vouchers 54 - 43 percent and oppose expanding charter schools 55 - 38 percent, but they support 51 - 45 percent expanding state-funded early childhood education. Republican voters support vouchers 52 - 45 percent and oppose expanding charters 53 - 41 percent.

"Christie backs vouchers and charter schools, but voters don't. Even Republicans are lukewarm on vouchers and opposed to expanding charter schools," Carroll said.

From November 17 - 22, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,615 New Jersey voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.4 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.

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jon Corzine is handling his job as Governor?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              31%     6%    60%    26%    28%    34%    24%    59%
Disapprove           59     88     28     64     64     55     67     23
DK/NA                10      6     12     10      9     11      8     18
 
                     Union  HvKids                      Philly
                     Hshlds PubSch Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Approve              37%    36%    52%    32%    23%    30%    22%
Disapprove           55     54     35     57     71     59     71
DK/NA                 8     10     13     11      6     11      7
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jon Corzine is handling his job as Governor?
                                                     APPROVE....     DIS...
                                                     High    Low     High
                     Nov 24  Jun 10  May 20  Apr 22  Apr 18  Nov 24  Nov 24
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2007    2009    2009
 
Approve              31      36      38      37      51      31      31
Disapprove           59      56      53      54      36      59      59
DK/NA                10       9       9       8      13      10      10
 
 
2. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              21%    10%    36%    17%    20%    22%    16%    33%
Disapprove           65     78     46     71     70     59     71     47
DK/NA                15     12     18     12     10     19     13     20
 
                     Union  HvKids                      Philly
                     Hshlds PubSch Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Approve              24%    20%    39%    20%    13%    25%    14%
Disapprove           65     73     52     62     77     63     69
DK/NA                10      8     10     18     10     13     17
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                                                     APPROVE.......  DIS..
                                                     High    Low     High
                     Nov 24  Jun 10  May 20  Apr 22  Jan 26  Jul 14  Jul 14
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2005    2006    2006
 
Approve              21      28      28      29      44      20      20
Disapprove           65      56      55      57      31      71      71
DK/NA                15      16      17      14      25      10      10
 
 
3. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Frank Lautenberg is handling his job as United States Senator?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              40%    20%    60%    37%    37%    42%    36%    66%
Disapprove           41     58     22     44     45     37     47     15
DK/NA                20     22     18     18     18     21     17     19
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Frank Lautenberg is handling his job as United States Senator? (*High approve also 55% Sep 1999 & Jul 1999)
                                                     APPROVE.......  DIS...
                                                     High    Low     High
                     Nov 24  Jun 10  May 20  Apr 22  Jul 27  Feb 20  Nov 24
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2000*   2008    2009
 
Approve              40      44      46      47      55      39      40
Disapprove           41      36      37      38      22      31      41
DK/NA                20      19      18      15      23      29      20
 
 
4. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Robert Menendez is handling his job as United States Senator?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              36%    14%    60%    34%    36%    37%    30%    58%
Disapprove           37     55     18     39     42     32     42     14
DK/NA                27     31     22     27     23     31     27     29
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Robert Menendez is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                     APPROVE.......  DIS..
                                                     High    Low     High
                     Nov 24  Jun 10  May 20  Apr 22  Feb 4   Feb 20  Jul 9
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2008    2007
 
Approve              36      40      41      41      42      30      31
Disapprove           37      31      32      32      30      31      39
DK/NA                27      28      27      26      28      39      31
 
 
5. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              51%    17%    86%    47%    46%    57%    42%    93%
Disapprove           42     79     10     43     46     38     52      3
DK/NA                 7      5      4     10      8      5      6      5
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?
                                                     APPROVE.......  DIS...
                                                     High    Low     High
                     Nov 24  Aug 12  Jun 10  May 20  Jun 10  Nov 24  Nov 24
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2009
 
Approve              51      56      68      67      68      51      51
Disapprove           42      39      25      27      25      42      42
DK/NA                 7       5       7       6       7       7       7
 
 
6. Is your opinion of - Christopher Christie favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Favorable            36%    64%    17%    33%    39%    34%    40%    22%
Unfavorable          25      6     41     25     21     29     24     33
Hvn't hrd enough     37     28     40     39     38     36     33     44
REFUSED               2      2      2      2      3      2      3      1
 
                     Union  HvKids                      Philly
                     Hshlds PubSch Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Favorable            29%    40%    34%    35%    44%    28%    39%
Unfavorable          39     28     33     23     22     29     22
Hvn't hrd enough     29     28     32     39     32     40     35
REFUSED               2      4      1      2      2      3      3
 
TREND: Is your opinion of - Christopher Christie favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him? (*High also 36% Jun 2009)
                                                             FAVORABLE.....
                                                             High    Low
                     Nov 24  Jun 10  May 20  Apr 22  Mar 12  Nov 24  Aug 12
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2008
 
Favorable            36      36      33      31      31      36      21
Unfavorable          25      16      11      11       7      25       7
Hvn't hrd enough     37      46      54      56      61      37      69
REFUSED               2       2       2       1       2       2       2
 
 
7. 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    Wht    Blk
 
Very satisfied        1%     1%     2%     -      2%     1%     1%     -
Smwht satisfied      24      9     38     24     23     25     18     49
Smwht dissatisfied   31     30     36     29     29     34     31     28
Very dissatisfied    42     58     22     46     45     39     48     19
DK/NA                 1      1      2      -      1      1      1      3
 
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? (*High also 71% Feb 1999)
                                                             VERY+SMWHT....
                                                             High    Low
                     Nov 24  Jul 15  Jun 10  May 20  Apr 22  Dec 26  Nov 24
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2000*   2009
 
Very satisfied        1       3       3       2       2      10       1
Smwht satisfied      24      30      29      33      33      61      24
Smwht dissatisfied   31      33      34      31      29      21      31
Very dissatisfied    42      33      33      32      35       7      42
DK/NA                 1       1       1       2       1       1       1
 
 
8. Do you think Governor-elect Christie and the state legislature will be able to work together to solve the state's problems?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Yes                  49%    67%    38%    47%    46%    51%    48%    47%
No                   37     23     44     38     42     32     38     33
DK/NA                15     10     18     15     12     17     13     20
 
 
9. How serious do you think New Jersey's budget problems are - very serious, somewhat serious, not too serious, or not at all serious?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Very serious         83%    87%    73%    89%    83%    83%    86%    67%
Smwht serious        14     10     22     10     13     14     13     22
Not too serious       1      2      2      -      1      2      1      7
Not at all serious    -      -      -      -      1      -      -      -
DK/NA                 2      -      3      1      2      1      1      4
 
TREND: How serious do you think New Jersey's budget problems are - very serious, somewhat serious, not too serious, or not at all serious?
                                                             VERY+SMWHT....
                                                             High    Low
                     Nov 24  Aug 12  Jun 11  Jun 16  Apr 26  Nov 24  Dec 11
                     2009    2008    2008    2006    2006    2009    2002
 
Very serious         83      67      66      58      56      83      35
Somewhat serious     14      28      29      34      35      14      51
Not too serious       1       2       2       4       5       1      10
Not at all serious    -       -       1       1       1       -       1
DK/NA                 2       3       2       3       3       2       3
 
 
10. To balance the state budget, if you had to choose, would you prefer - raising taxes or cutting government programs and services?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Raising taxes        23%     8%    43%    18%    18%    27%    17%    48%
Cutting services     68     86     46     73     73     63     74     40
DK/NA                 9      6     11      9      9     10      8     12
 
TREND: To balance the state budget, if you had to choose, would you prefer raising taxes or cutting government programs and services?
                     Nov 24  Mar 16  Jan 26  Apr 2   Dec 12
                     2009    2006    2006    2003    2002
 
Raising taxes        23      29      28      32      28
Cutting services     68      58      57      54      61
DK/NA                 9      13      16      14      12
 
 
11. If it is necessary to raise new revenues, which of the following would be your first choice to raise - tolls, gas taxes, income taxes or sales taxes?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Tolls                30%    31%    31%    32%    25%    35%    29%    27%
Gas taxes            15     11     15     18     18     11     17     10
Income taxes         13      8     15     14     14     12     13     16
Sales taxes          28     32     29     26     27     29     27     34
DK/NA                14     19     10     11     15     12     14     14
 
                     Union  HvKids                      Philly
                     Hshlds PubSch Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Tolls                36%    30%    36%    26%    34%    33%    29%
Gas taxes            15     15     15     13     16     14     16
Income taxes          9     14     16     12     10     15     13
Sales taxes          31     29     20     36     25     24     28
DK/NA                 8     12     13     13     15     14     14
 
TREND: If it is necessary to raise new revenues, which of the following would be your first choice to raise - tolls, gas taxes, income taxes, or sales taxes?
                     Nov 24  Feb 20
                     2009    2008
 
Tolls                30      23
Gas taxes            15      13
Income taxes         13      13
Sales taxes          28      31
DK/NA                14      20
 
 
12. To balance the state budget, if you had to choose, where do you think state spending should be decreased - health care, education, economic development, or social services?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Health care           7%     8%     6%     7%     7%     6%     5%    14%
Education            11     15      8     11     12     11     12      7
Economic dev         41     31     56     36     35     47     38     47
Social services      30     37     20     34     36     25     33     21
DK/NA                11     10     11     11     10     12     12     11
 
                     Union  HvKids                      Philly
                     Hshlds PubSch Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Health care           5%    11%     7%     7%     7%     6%     6%
Education             8      7     10     11     14      8     13
Economic dev         44     44     48     40     39     39     39
Social services      34     34     27     29     32     35     29
DK/NA                 9      5      9     13      8     12     12
 
 
13. To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose - layoffs or furloughs for state employees?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Support              61%    69%    50%    65%    67%    56%    66%    48%
Oppose               33     25     43     29     29     37     28     45
DK/NA                 6      6      7      5      4      7      6      7
 
                     Union  HvKids                      Philly
                     Hshlds PubSch Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Support              49%    63%    55%    60%    71%    59%    61%
Oppose               48     33     38     34     25     37     29
DK/NA                 3      4      7      5      4      4      9
 
 
14. To help balance the state budget, do you support or oppose a wage freeze for state workers?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Support              75%    79%    70%    75%    78%    72%    80%    47%
Oppose               21     16     26     20     19     23     16     45
DK/NA                 4      5      3      5      3      5      4      8
 
                     Union  HvKids                      Philly
                     Hshlds PubSch Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Support              62%    70%    70%    75%    82%    69%    77%
Oppose               33     27     27     21     16     27     14
DK/NA                 5      2      3      4      2      3      8
 
 
15. Do you think state aid to local governments and school districts should be increased, decreased, or kept about the same?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Increased            20%    15%    28%    18%    17%    23%    18%    38%
Decreased            16     26      6     18     22     10     17      6
Kept the same        60     57     62     60     57     63     61     50
DK/NA                 4      2      4      4      4      4      3      7
 
                     Union  HvKids                      Philly
                     Hshlds PubSch Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Increased            25%    23%    31%    21%    10%    25%    17%
Decreased            14     14      9     15     21     13     22
Kept the same        59     60     59     59     66     60     56
DK/NA                 1      3      1      6      2      2      4
 
 
16. Do you think state aid to your local government and your school district should be increased, decreased, or kept about the same?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Increased            21%    17%    25%    21%    18%    23%    19%    30%
Decreased            15     23      8     16     20     11     16     10
Kept the same        62     58     65     61     59     64     63     57
DK/NA                 2      2      2      2      3      2      2      4
 
                     Union  HvKids                      Philly
                     Hshlds PubSch Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Increased            22%    24%    33%    21%    12%    23%    16%
Decreased            16     13      7     16     20     12     17
Kept the same        61     62     58     58     67     62     65
DK/NA                 -      1      2      4      -      2      2
 
 
17. Do you think state aid to urban local governments and urban school districts should be increased, decreased, or kept about the same?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Increased            24%     8%    36%    25%    21%    27%    20%    38%
Decreased            21     30     10     24     27     15     24      4
Kept the same        51     57     51     48     49     53     52     51
DK/NA                 4      5      3      4      4      5      4      7
 
                     Union  HvKids                      Philly
                     Hshlds PubSch Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Increased            27%    26%    36%    24%    19%    31%    13%
Decreased            22     23     11     18     32     19     25
Kept the same        51     49     52     53     48     47     52
DK/NA                 1      2      2      5      -      3     10
 
 
18. Do you think tax rebates should be increased, decreased, or kept about the same?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Increased            29%    28%    29%    27%    29%    28%    24%    53%
Decreased            21     22     16     27     26     17     24      8
Kept the same        45     46     52     41     40     50     48     37
DK/NA                 5      4      2      6      4      5      5      2
 
                     Union  HvKids                      Philly
                     Hshlds PubSch Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Increased            21%    33%    33%    33%    23%    26%    23%
Decreased            21     23     14     23     25     21     19
Kept the same        55     41     51     39     49     49     46
DK/NA                 4      2      3      4      2      3     11
 
 
19. 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    Wht    Blk
 
Support              37%    31%    41%    38%    40%    34%    38%    35%
Oppose               62     68     57     59     58     65     60     62
DK/NA                 2      1      2      2      2      1      2      3
 
                     Union  HvKids                      Philly
                     Hshlds PubSch Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Support              35%    36%    41%    38%    37%    33%    35%
Oppose               65     63     58     60     62     66     63
DK/NA                 -      1      1      2      2      1      2
 
TREND: To help finance road improvements and mass transportation, would you support or oppose an increase in the gasoline tax? (*Jan 2005 question did not include "and mass transportation")
                     Nov 24  Dec 11  Mar 16  Jan 26  Jan 27
                     2009    2007    2006    2006    2005
 
Support              37      24      31      27      39
Oppose               62      74      67      69      57
DK/NA                 2       2       3       3       4
 
 
20. 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?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Support              73%    70%    72%    76%    78%    68%    75%    68%
Oppose               22     24     23     20     17     27     22     21
DK/NA                 5      5      5      4      5      5      3     11
 
                     Union  HvKids                      Philly
                     Hshlds PubSch Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Support              75%    67%    70%    72%    75%    76%    72%
Oppose               22     29     29     20     22     20     22
DK/NA                 4      4      1      8      3      4      6
 
TREND: 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?
                     Nov 24  Dec 6
                     2009    2006
 
Support              73      61
Oppose               22      31
DK/NA                 5       8
 
 
21. 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?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Favor                43%    52%    36%    41%    46%    40%    40%    51%
Oppose               54     45     59     58     52     56     57     45
DK/NA                 3      4      5      1      2      4      2      5
 
                     Union  HvKids                      Philly
                     Hshlds PubSch Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Favor                35%    43%    43%    41%    45%    43%    45%
Oppose               63     56     54     55     54     55     51
DK/NA                 2      1      3      4      1      2      3
 
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?
                     Nov 24  Jul 3
                     2009    2001
 
Favor                43      50
Oppose               54      43
DK/NA                 3       7
 
 
22. 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?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Yes                  38%    41%    37%    39%    39%    38%    32%    61%
No                   55     53     56     55     55     55     61     30
DK/NA                 7      7      7      6      6      7      7     10
 
                     Union  HvKids                      Philly
                     Hshlds PubSch Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Yes                  33%    38%    51%    38%    39%    34%    33%
No                   65     58     43     55     56     61     58
DK/NA                 3      4      7      7      5      6      8
 
 
23. Do you think there should be an expansion of state funded early childhood education in New Jersey or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Yes                  51%    33%    71%    48%    47%    54%    41%    86%
No                   45     63     25     48     47     43     55     11
DK/NA                 4      4      4      3      5      3      4      3
 
                     Union  HvKids                      Philly
                     Hshlds PubSch Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Yes                  55%    57%    73%    52%    36%    50%    44%
No                   43     40     25     43     60     47     52
DK/NA                 2      3      2      5      5      3      4