November 11, 2010 - 99 Percent Of New Jersey Voters Say Budget Woes Serious,Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Support For State Worker Layoffs Tops 50 Percent Mark

Word format

New Jersey's budget problems are "very serious," 86 percent of voters say, while 13 percent say they are "somewhat serious," according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Voters support layoffs for state workers 54 - 39 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Support is 66 - 25 percent among Republicans and 56 - 38 percent among independent voters, but Democrats oppose layoffs 53 - 40 percent. Women support layoffs 50 - 43 percent while men support layoffs 58 - 35 percent.

New Jersey voters support other cutbacks to state workers:
  • 63 - 25 percent, including 52 - 33 percent among Democrats, for furloughs;
  • 78 - 19 percent, including 63 - 31 percent among Democrats, for a wage freeze.
Gov. Christopher Christie gets a 52 - 42 percent approval for his handling of the state budget, compared to his overall 51 - 38 percent job approval. He is the only governor or mayor in any state surveyed by Quinnipiac University whose approval for handling the state budget is not well below his overall job approval.

"Literally everybody - just a tick short of 100 percent - agrees that the state's in bad budget trouble," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"In the cross hairs: public employees. To help with the budget, a majority now supports layoffs. By a bit more, we'd approve furloughs, and by a lot, we'd like a wage freeze."

New Jersey voters say 62 - 26 percent that they would rather cut services than raise taxes to help balance the state budget. Democrats are divided with 43 percent for raising taxes and 41 percent for cutting services. Urban voters say raise taxes 45 - 41 percent.

But 29 percent of New Jersey voters say state aid to local governments and school districts should be increased, while 15 percent say state aid should be decreased and 52 percent say keep aid levels the same.

By a 56 - 24 percent margin, New Jersey voters have a favorable opinion of public school teachers, a margin that jumps to 66 - 22 percent among voters with children in public schools.

But voter opinion of the state's largest teachers union is a negative 21 - 46 percent, including a negative 23 - 45 percent among parents.

Public school teacher salaries are "about right," 51 percent of voters say, while 23 percent say they are too high and 18 percent say they are too low. Parents have similar opinions.

The teachers union is playing a negative role in improving New Jersey schools, voters say 54 - 36 percent, including 56 - 36 percent among parents.

Voters split on whom they trust more to make the right decisions on teacher contracts, with 46 percent trusting Gov. Christie and 44 percent trusting the teachers union.

Merit pay for outstanding teachers is a good idea, voters say 67 - 28 percent. By a similar 65 - 29 percent margin, voters say it should be easier to fire bad teachers.

"It looks a lot like one of those classic hit-the-other-guy judgments. We want to cut services to balance the budget, but we don't want to cut aid to local government and schools," Carroll said.

"New Jerseyans like the people who teach their kids, but they don't like their union. That union bugaboo - merit pay - gets high marks. So does making it easier to fire bad teachers."

From November 3 - 8, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,362 New Jersey voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.7 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 Christopher Christie is handling his job as Governor?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              51%    79%    22%    56%    58%    45%    58%    14%
Disapprove           38     12     68     32     31     45     33     71
DK/NA                10      9     10     12     11     10      9     15
 
                                          Philly
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Approve              39%    47%    59%    50%    61%
Disapprove           51     43     28     41     29
DK/NA                10     10     13      9     10
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Christopher Christie is handling his job as Governor?
                     Nov 11  Aug 19  Jun 17
                     2010    2010    2010
 
Approve              51      51      44
Disapprove           38      36      43
DK/NA                10      13      12
 
 
21. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Christopher Christie is handling the state budget?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              52%    78%    23%    57%    60%    45%    60%    15%
Disapprove           42     16     69     39     36     47     35     77
DK/NA                 6      6      8      4      4      8      5      7
 
                                          Philly        HvKids
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore  PubSch
 
Approve              28%    53%    57%    51%    63%    53%
Disapprove           68     42     32     42     32     41
DK/NA                 4      5     11      6      5      6
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Christopher Christie is handling the state budget?
                     Nov 11   Jun 17
                     2010     2010
 
Approve              52       45
Disapprove           42       49
DK/NA                 6        6
 
 
22. 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         86%    87%    82%    89%    87%    85%    86%    82%
Smwht serious        13     12     17     10     12     13     13     13
Not too serious       -      -      1      -      -      1      -      2
Not at all serious    -      1      -      -      -      -      -      -
DK/NA                 1      -      1      -      -      1      -      4
 
                                          Philly        HvKids
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore  PubSch
 
Very serious         85%    87%    83%    89%    85%    85%
Smwht serious        13     12     16     11     13     15
Not too serious       -      1      -      -      -      -
Not at all serious    -      -      -      -      1      -
DK/NA                 2      -      -      -      1      -
 
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 11  Jan 20  Nov 24  Aug 12  Jun 11  Nov 11  Dec 11
                     2010    2010    2009    2008    2008    2010    2002
 
Very serious         86      80      83      67      66      86      35
Somewhat serious     13      17      14      28      29      13      51
Not too serious       -       2       1       2       2       -      10
Not at all serious    -       -       -       -       1       -       1
DK/NA                 1       1       2       3       2       1       3
 
 
23. 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        26%    12%    43%    23%    21%    30%    20%    39%
Cutting services     62     79     41     67     68     56     70     42
DK/NA                13      9     16     10     11     14     10     18
 
                                          Philly        HvKids
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore  PubSch
 
Raising taxes        45%    30%    13%    22%    20%    24%
Cutting services     41     62     71     66     65     66
DK/NA                14      9     16     12     15     10
 
TREND: To balance the state budget, if you had to choose, would you prefer raising taxes or cutting government programs and services?
                     Nov 11  Jan 20  Nov 24  Mar 16  Jan 26  Apr 2   Dec 12
                     2010    2010    2009    2006    2006    2003    2002
 
Raising taxes        26      25      23      29      28      32      28
Cutting services     62      62      68      58      57      54      61
DK/NA                13      13       9      13      16      14      12
 
 
24. To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose - layoffs for state employees?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Support              54%    66%    40%    56%    58%    50%    60%    23%
Oppose               39     25     53     38     35     43     33     74
DK/NA                 7      9      6      6      7      7      7      2
 
                                          Philly        HvKids
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore  PubSch
 
Support              34%    53%    66%    55%    57%    63%
Oppose               61     42     25     38     32     35
DK/NA                 5      5      9      7     10      2
 
 
25. To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose - furloughs for state employees?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Support              63%    73%    52%    66%    67%    60%    67%    46%
Oppose               25     15     33     27     25     26     21     40
DK/NA                11     12     14      7      8     15     11     14
 
                                          Philly        HvKids
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore  PubSch
 
Support              49%    68%    62%    62%    69%    65%
Oppose               35     22     25     25     25     24
DK/NA                16     11     14     13      6     12
 
 
26. 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              78%    86%    63%    84%    81%    75%    82%    67%
Oppose               19     13     31     15     17     22     16     32
DK/NA                 3      2      5      1      2      3      2      1
 
                                          Philly        HvKids
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore  PubSch
 
Support              70%    80%    79%    74%    82%    73%
Oppose               29     17     20     23     14     26
DK/NA                 1      2      2      3      4      -
 
TREND: To help balance the state budget, do you support or oppose a wage freeze for state workers?
                     Nov 11  Jan 20  Nov 24
                     2010    2010    2009
 
Support              78       71      75
Oppose               19       23      21
DK/NA                 3        6       4
 
 
27. 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            29%    18%    42%    28%    22%    35%    26%    51%
Decreased            15     23      8     15     19     12     17      9
Kept the same        52     55     48     53     55     50     55     36
DK/NA                 4      5      3      4      4      4      3      4
 
                                          Philly        HvKids
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore  PubSch
 
Increased            32%    32%    23%    30%    24%    31%
Decreased            10     14     15     17     20     11
Kept the same        52     51     58     48     53     58
DK/NA                 6      3      4      5      3      1
 
TREND: Do you think state aid to local governments and school districts should be increased, decreased, or kept about the same?
                     Nov 11  Jan 20  Nov 24
                     2010    2010    2009
 
Increased            29      18      20
Decreased            15      14      16
Kept the same        52      65      60
DK/NA                 4       3       4
 
 
28. 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            27%    17%    41%    23%    21%    32%    24%    49%
Decreased            15     22      6     17     20     10     16      7
Kept the same        56     59     52     58     57     56     58     43
DK/NA                 2      2      1      3      2      3      2      1
 
                                          Philly        HvKids
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore  PubSch
 
Increased            34%    33%    16%    27%    22%    29%
Decreased            11     13     15     16     20     11
Kept the same        52     53     65     55     56     60
DK/NA                 3      1      3      2      2      -
 
TREND: Do you think state aid to your local government and your school district should be increased, decreased, or kept about the same?
                     Nov 11  Jan 20  Nov 24
                     2010    2010    2009
 
Increased            27      21      21
Decreased            15      14      15
Kept the same        56      64      62
DK/NA                 2       2       2
 
 
29. 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            29%    16%    45%    26%    23%    35%    24%    48%
Decreased            20     30      6     23     29     11     22      5
Kept the same        49     49     48     48     46     51     51     45
DK/NA                 3      5      1      3      2      4      3      1
 
                                          Philly        HvKids
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore  PubSch
 
Increased            32%    34%    19%    25%    30%    30%
Decreased            13     15     24     20     29     18
Kept the same        53     49     53     51     39     51
DK/NA                 2      2      4      4      2      1
 
TREND: Do you think state aid to urban local governments and urban school districts should be increased, decreased, or kept about the same?
                     Nov 11  Jan 20  Nov 24
                     2010    2010    2009
 
Increased            29      27      24
Decreased            20      20      21
Kept the same        49      51      51
DK/NA                 3       2       4
 
 
31. Is your opinion of New Jersey's public school teachers favorable, unfavorable, or haven't you heard enough about them?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Favorable            56%    47%    62%    58%    56%    55%    55%    56%
Unfavorable          24     34     16     24     28     21     26     13
Hvn't hrd enough     19     18     22     17     16     22     17     31
REFUSED               1      1      1      2      1      2      1      -
 
                                          Philly        HvKids
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore  PubSch
 
Favorable            63%    57%    55%    58%    46%    66%
Unfavorable          13     22     25     28     31     22
Hvn't hrd enough     23     20     17     13     21      9
REFUSED               2      1      2      1      1      2
 
TREND: Is your opinion of New Jersey's public school teachers favorable, unfavorable, or haven't you heard enough about them?
                     Nov 11  June 17
                     2010    2010
 
Favorable            56      56
Unfavorable          24      26
Hvn't hrd enough     19      16
REFUSED               1       2
 
 
32. Do you think New Jersey public school teacher salaries are too high, too low or about right?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Too high             23%    36%     9%    24%    26%    21%    27%     6%
Too low              18     10     31     13     14     22     14     37
About right          51     46     49     56     54     48     52     47
DK/NA                 8      8     11      7      7      9      7     10
 
                                          Philly        HvKids
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore  PubSch
 
Too high             10%    25%    20%    25%    29%    20%
Too low              29     17     15     20     12     22
About right          48     51     52     47     54     55
DK/NA                13      6     12      7      5      3
 
TREND: Do you think New Jersey public school teacher salaries are too high, too low or about right?
                     Nov 11  Jan 21
                     2010    2010
 
Too high             23      22
Too low              18      28
About right          51      44
DK/NA                 8       7
 
 
33. Is your opinion of the state's largest teachers union, the New Jersey Education Association, favorable, unfavorable, or haven't you heard enough about it?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Favorable            21%     9%    31%    21%    18%    24%    21%    25%
Unfavorable          46     66     22     51     55     38     53      9
Hvn't hrd enough     32     23     45     27     26     37     25     66
REFUSED               1      2      2      1      2      1      1      -
 
                                          Philly        HvKids
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore  PubSch
 
Favorable            23%    24%    18%    24%    13%    23%
Unfavorable          25     47     47     43     59     45
Hvn't hrd enough     49     28     31     32     27     32
REFUSED               3      1      3      1      -      -
 
TREND: Is your opinion of the state's largest teachers union, the New Jersey Education Association, favorable, unfavorable, or haven't you heard enough about it?
                     Nov 11  Jun 17
                     2010    2010
 
Favorable            21      24
Unfavorable          46      50
Hvn't hrd enough     32      25
REFUSED               1       1
 
 
34. Generally speaking, do you believe the teachers' unions are playing a positive or a negative role in improving New Jersey's educational system?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Positive             36%    20%    53%    34%    31%    40%    32%    63%
Negative             54     73     33     59     62     48     60     22
DK/NA                10      7     13      8      7     12      8     16
 
                                          Philly        HvKids
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore  PubSch
 
Positive             52%    36%    34%    37%    26%    36%
Negative             38     55     56     49     67     56
DK/NA                10      9     10     13      7      8
 
TREND: Generally speaking, do you believe the teachers' unions are playing a positive or a negative role in improving New Jersey's educational system?
                     Nov 11  Jan 21  Oct 15
                     2010    2010    2009
 
Positive             36      39      45
Negative             54      48      43
DK/NA                10      12      11
 
 
35. Who do you trust more to make the right decisions about teacher's contracts, Governor Christie or the teachers' union?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Christie             46%    71%    18%    49%    54%    38%    53%     7%
Union                44     22     70     40     34     53     36     82
DK/NA                11      7     11     11     12      9     10     11
 
                                          Philly        HvKids
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore  PubSch
 
Christie             25%    47%    50%    42%    55%    45%
Union                63     41     40     48     35     45
DK/NA                12     12      9     10     10     10
 
TREND: Who do you trust more to make the right decisions about teacher's contracts Governor Christie or the teachers' union?
                     Nov 11  Jun 17
                     2010    2010
 
Gov Christie         46      43
Teachers' union      44      45
DK/NA                11      13
 
 
36. 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?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Good idea            67%    66%    65%    69%    69%    65%    66%    64%
Bad idea             28     30     28     27     27     29     29     26
DK/NA                 5      4      6      4      4      6      5     10
 
                                          Philly        HvKids
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore  PubSch
 
Good idea            64%    67%    70%    63%    69%    73%
Bad idea             30     28     25     29     29     22
DK/NA                 6      5      5      8      2      4
 
TREND: 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?
                     Nov 11  Jan 21  Oct 15
                     2010    2010    2009
 
Good idea            67      66      70
Bad idea             28      31      27
DK/NA                 5       3       3
 
 
37. Some people have suggested firing public school teachers should be made easier. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Good idea            65%    72%    51%    71%    67%    63%    71%    42%
Bad idea             29     22     41     24     28     30     24     49
DK/NA                 6      6      7      5      4      8      5      9
 
                                          Philly        HvKids
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore  PubSch
 
Good idea            50%    65%    72%    62%    71%    66%
Bad idea             42     30     24     33     19     31
DK/NA                 9      5      3      5      9      3
 
TREND: Some people have suggested firing public school teachers should be made easier. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?
                     Nov 11  Jan 21  Oct 15
                     2010    2010    2009
 
Good idea            65      64      64
Bad idea             29      31      30
DK/NA                 6       5       6
 
 
38. Due to tight budgets, there have been teacher layoffs. Do you think fewer teachers will hurt the quality of education in New Jersey or won't it make a difference?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Yes/Will hurt        59%    43%    77%    58%    54%    64%    52%    84%
No/No diff           36     52     19     38     41     31     43     13
DK/NA                 5      6      5      4      5      5      5      2
 
                                          Philly        HvKids
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore  PubSch
 
Yes/Will hurt        73%    59%    57%    55%    57%    66%
No/No diff           22     37     37     40     38     33
DK/NA                 5      4      6      5      5      1
 
 
39. As you may know, Newark received a $1.5 billion gift to improve its schools. Do you think this money will help the quality of education in Newark or won't it make a difference?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Yes/Will help        52%    45%    68%    47%    48%    56%    48%    64%
No/No diff           41     48     26     46     48     34     45     27
DK/NA                 7      7      7      6      4     10      7      8
 
                                          Philly        HvKids
                     Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore  PubSch
 
Yes/Will help        67%    55%    50%    46%    42%    54%
No/No diff           28     37     41     45     52     39
DK/NA                 4      7      9      9      6      7
 
 
40. As you may know, Governor Christie has said he intends to change a historically liberal state Supreme Court. Do you think that is a good idea or a bad idea?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Good idea            44%    75%    14%    45%    53%    35%    52%     9%
Bad idea             43     13     73     42     37     49     36     71
DK/NA                13     12     13     13     10     16     13     20
 
 
41. As you may know, the State Senate has refused to act on the Governor's state Supreme Court nominee Anne Murray Patterson. Which comes closer to your point of view - the State Senate is foot dragging or the State Senate is protecting an independent judiciary?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Foot dragging        35%    47%    21%    41%    43%    29%    39%    26%
Protecting
judiciary            35     22     47     35     36     34     32     39
DK/NA                29     31     32     24     21     37     29     35