March 1, 2012 - New Jersey Same-Sex Marriage Support At New High, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters Back Holding Referendum More Than 2-1

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Support for same-sex marriage in New Jersey climbs to a new high, 57 - 37 percent, but voters split 48 - 47 percent on whether Gov. Christopher Christie did the right thing in vetoing same- sex marriage legislation, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Voters support 67 - 28 percent Gov. Christie's proposal to let them decide the same-sex marriage issue by placing it on the ballot for a November referendum, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

Support for same-sex marriage is 61 - 32 percent among women and 51 - 44 percent among men. White Catholics support the move 52 - 43 percent while white Protestants are opposed 50 - 42 percent. Voters who attend religious services weekly oppose same-sex marriage 54 - 39 percent while those who attend services less frequently support the measure 66 - 29 percent.

Given three options for same-sex couples:
  • 47 percent support same-sex marriage;
  • 34 percent support same-sex civil unions;
  • 13 percent say there should be no legal recognition.
"So the New Jersey State Legislature passed same-sex marriage and Gov. Christopher Christie vetoed it. What's left, for now anyway, is a political issue," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"The numbers are all over the lot. Voter support for same-sex marriage goes up every time we ask, but about half of them think Christie was right to veto it. By better than 2-1, they like the governor's proposal for a referendum."

"Only a small percentage thinks there should be no legal recognition of same-sex relationships, but a fair number prefer the state's current legalization of civil unions. And they approve Christie's conditional-veto proposal to ensure that civil unions provide enough protection," Carroll added.

New Jersey voters approve 50 - 43 percent of the way Christie is handling education and say 60 - 32 percent his proposal to limit teacher tenure is a good idea.

Opinions on other education questions are:
  • By a 57 - 25 percent margin, voters have a favorable opinion of public school teachers;
  • By a 46 - 31 percent margin, voters have an unfavorable opinion of the New Jersey Education Association. Voters in union households are favorable 42 - 37 percent;
  • Voters oppose school vouchers 50 - 44 percent;
  • Voters oppose expanding charter schools 52 - 41 percent;
  • Voters say 72 - 24 percent that merit pay for good teachers is a good idea. Judicial Nominations
New Jersey voters know little about issues surrounding the governor's nomination of two Supreme Court judges:
  • 69 percent say they have not read or heard about the nominations of Phil Kwon and Bruce Harris;
  • Asked if they approve of Kwon's nomination, 80 percent have no opinion;
  • 81 percent have no opinion of Harris' nomination;
  • 62 percent have no opinion on whether the State Bar Association has too much influence over judicial appointments.
"The appointment of two justices to the seven-member Supreme Court matters a lot, but most voters aren't interested. Political insiders, including pollsters, also are watching the governor's potential squabble with the Bar Association. Again, most voters couldn't care less," Carroll said.

From February 21 - 27, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,396 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and the nation 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.

28. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Christopher Christie is handling education?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              50%    79%    25%    54%    56%    45%
Disapprove           43     16     68     39     38     48
DK/NA                 7      5      7      7      6      7
 
                     Union  HAVE KIDS....                      Philly
                     HsHlds <18    PubSch Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Approve              40%    50%    51%    34%    46%    64%    47%    60%
Disapprove           54     45     44     61     46     32     47     34
DK/NA                 6      5      4      5      9      4      6      6
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   AGE IN YEARS.....    ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME
                     Yes    No     18-49  50-64  65+    <30K  30-50  50-100 >100
 
Approve              44%    53%    48%    51%    52%    44%    47%    54%    49%
Disapprove           49     40     47     42     39     48     44     42     45
DK/NA                 7      6      5      7      9      9      9      4      5
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Christopher Christie is handling education?
                     Mar 01  Aug 17  Jun 21  Apr 21  Feb 10  Dec 21
                     2012    2011    2011    2011    2011    2010
                             
Approve              50      44      41      44      47      45
Disapprove           43      52      55      52      48      49
DK/NA                 7       5       4       4       5       6
 
 
29. 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
 
Favorable            57%    48%    67%    56%    58%    56%
Unfavorable          25     34     14     28     29     23
Hvn't hrd enough     14     14     16     13     11     16
REFUSED               4      5      2      3      2      5
 
                     Union  HAVE KIDS....                      Philly
                     HsHlds <18    PubSch Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Favorable            68%    59%    60%    56%    56%    57%    63%    55%
Unfavorable          18     30     32     28     25     29     23     24
Hvn't hrd enough     10      9      6     12     16     10     12     16
REFUSED               3      2      2      4      3      4      2      4
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   AGE IN YEARS.....    ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME
                     Yes    No     18-49  50-64  65+    <30K  30-50  50-100 >100
 
Favorable            65%    53%    61%    59%    51%    47%    58%    56%    64%
Unfavorable          23     27     25     26     24     22     24     27     26
Hvn't hrd enough     10     16     12     13     20     25     13     15      8
REFUSED               2      5      2      3      6      6      5      3      2
 
TREND: Is your opinion of New Jersey's public school teachers favorable, unfavorable, or haven't you heard enough about them?
                     Mar 01  Jan 19  Apr 21  Feb 10  Dec 21  Nov 11  June 17
                     2012    2012    2011    2011    2010    2010    2010
                             
Favorable            57      57      64      62      57      56      56
Unfavorable          25      23      16      17      23      24      26
Hvn't hrd enough     14      17      17      18      18      19      16
REFUSED               4       3       3       3       2       1       2
 
 
30. 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
 
Favorable            31%    16%    47%    27%    31%    31%
Unfavorable          46     71     22     53     52     41
Hvn't hrd enough     22     13     29     20     16     28
REFUSED               1      -      2      1      1      1
 
                     Union  HAVE KIDS....                      Philly
                     HsHlds <18    PubSch Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Favorable            42%    26%    25%    40%    32%    22%    34%    25%
Unfavorable          37     50     53     37     42     62     41     53
Hvn't hrd enough     19     22     21     23     25     15     24     21
REFUSED               2      1      1      -      1      -      1      2
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   AGE IN YEARS.....    ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME
                     Yes    No     18-49  50-64  65+    <30K  30-50  50-100 >100
 
Favorable            35%    28%    31%    33%    27%    29%    32%    34%    29%
Unfavorable          51     43     48     47     44     36     36     48     55
Hvn't hrd enough     13     28     21     19     28     34     32     17     15
REFUSED               1      1      1      1      1      1      -      -      2
 
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?
                     Mar 01  Jan 19  Apr 21  Feb 10  Dec 21  Nov 11  Jun 17
                     2012    2012    2011    2011    2010    2010    2010
                             
Favorable            31      29      30      27      27      21      24
Unfavorable          46      44      45      44      48      46      50
Hvn't hrd enough     22      25      24      28      25      32      25
REFUSED               1       1       1       1       1       1       1
 
 
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?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Good idea            72%    76%    71%    71%    74%    71%
Bad idea             24     20     26     26     23     25
DK/NA                 4      4      3      4      4      4
 
                     Union  HAVE KIDS....                      Philly
                     HsHlds <18    PubSch Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Good idea            65%    80%    79%    70%    73%    70%    73%    73%
Bad idea             33     18     19     26     23     27     23     24
DK/NA                 3      2      2      4      4      3      4      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?
                     Mar 01  Jan 19  Apr 21  Feb 10  Nov 11  Jan 21
                     2012    2012    2011    2011    2010    2010
                             
Good idea            72      66      69      68      67      66
Bad idea             24      30      27      27      28      31
DK/NA                 4       5       4       4       5       3
 
 
32. Governor Christie wants to limit teacher tenure. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Good idea            60%    79%    45%    63%    62%    59%
Bad idea             32     13     46     29     31     33
DK/NA                 8      8      9      7      7      9
 
                     Union  HAVE KIDS....                      Philly
                     HsHlds <18    PubSch Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Good idea            53%    64%    68%    47%    55%    81%    57%    66%
Bad idea             40     30     25     46     35     16     35     26
DK/NA                 7      6      7      7     10      3      9      8
 
TREND: Governor Christie wants to limit teacher tenure. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?
                     Mar 01  Jan 19  Apr 21  Feb 10
                     2012    2012    2011    2011
                             
Good idea            60      59      62      62
Bad idea             32      33      32      30
DK/NA                 8       8       6       7
 
 
33. 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
 
Favor                44%    62%    29%    46%    47%    42%
Oppose               50     33     67     48     48     52
DK/NA                 6      6      4      6      5      6
 
                     Union  HAVE KIDS....                      Philly
                     HsHlds <18    PubSch Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Favor                39%    50%    45%    37%    40%    50%    50%    49%
Oppose               56     44     47     57     55     44     46     45
DK/NA                 5      6      7      6      6      6      5      6
 
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?
                     Mar 01  Jan 19  Apr 21  Feb 10  Nov 24  Jul 03
                     2012    2012    2011    2011    2009    2001
                             
Favor                44      44      39      43      43      50
Oppose               50      49      56      52      54      43
DK/NA                 6       7       6       5       3       7
 
 
34. 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
 
Yes                  41%    53%    33%    39%    42%    40%
No                   52     40     61     53     51     53
DK/NA                 7      7      5      8      7      7
 
                     Union  HAVE KIDS....                      Philly
                     HsHlds <18    PubSch Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land   Shore
 
Yes                  32%    45%    42%    41%    38%    46%    36%    46%
No                   59     50     52     50     55     47     58     46
DK/NA                 8      5      5     10      7      7      6      8
 
TREND: 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?
                     Mar 01  Jan 19  Apr 21  Feb 10  Jan 21  Nov 24
                     2012    2012    2011    2011    2010    2009
                             
Yes                  41      41      36      41      40      38
No                   52      51      56      50      52      55
DK/NA                 7       8       8       8       8       7
 
 
35. Have you heard or read anything about Governor Christie's nominations of Phil Kwon and Bruce Harris to the New Jersey Supreme Court?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Yes                  28%    32%    27%    29%    35%    23%
No                   69     66     70     70     63     75
DK/NA                 2      2      3      2      2      2
 
 
36. Do you approve or disapprove of Governor Christie's nomination of Phil Kwon to the New Jersey Supreme Court, or is that something you don't have an opinion on?
                                                               HrdOfNomsQ35
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Approve              13%    21%     8%    12%    17%     9%    37%     3%
Disapprove            7      4     11      6      8      6     18      2
No opinion           80     75     81     82     75     85     45     95
REFUSED               -      1      -      -      -      -      -      -
 
 
37. Do you approve or disapprove of Governor Christie's nomination of Bruce Harris to the New Jersey Supreme Court, or is that something you don't have an opinion on?
                                                               HrdOfNomsQ35
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Approve              12%    21%     7%    10%    16%     8%    34%     3%
Disapprove            7      3     11      6      8      6     18      3
No opinion           81     76     82     83     76     86     49     94
REFUSED               -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -
 
 
38. Do you think the New Jersey State Bar Association has too much influence over judicial appointments, too little influence over judicial appointments, or about the right amount of influence, or is that something you don't have an opinion on?
                                                               HrdOfNomsQ35
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Yes    No
 
Too much             19%    28%     6%    24%    25%    14%    25%    18%
Too little            3      3      4      2      4      2      4      2
Right amount         16     12     19     17     17     14     24     12
No opinion           62     58     70     57     54     69     47     68
REFUSED               -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -
 
 
39. Would you support or oppose a law that would allow same-sex couples to get married?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Support              57%    36%    71%    59%    51%    61%
Oppose               37     58     23     35     44     32
DK/NA                 6      5      6      7      5      7
 
                     WHITE......   ATTEND SRVCS                      Philly
                     Prot   Cath   Weekly Less   Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land Shore
                                                 
Support              42%    52%    39%    66%    67%    60%    56%    52%    48%
Oppose               50     43     54     29     25     35     37     44     43
DK/NA                 7      5      7      5      8      5      7      3      9
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   AGE IN YEARS.....    ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME
                     Yes    No     18-49  50-64  65+    <30K  30-50  50-100 >100
 
Support              70%    48%    67%    58%    40%    47%    53%    56%    65%
Oppose               26     45     30     35     51     44     42     37     31
DK/NA                 4      7      3      6      9     10      5      6      4
 
TREND: Would you support or oppose a law that would allow same-sex couples to get married?
                     Mar 01  Jan 19  Nov 25  Apr 23  Dec 7   Nov 8
                     2012    2012    2009    2009    2006    2006
                             
Support              57      52      46      49      44      41
Oppose               37      42      49      43      50      50
DK/NA                 6       6       6       8       5       9
 
 
40. Do you think same-sex couples should be allowed legally to marry, should be allowed legally to form civil unions but not marry, or should not be allowed to obtain legal recognition of their relationships?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Marry                47%    29%    61%    51%    45%    49%
Civil unions         34     45     24     36     33     34
No recognition       13     20     10     10     16     11
DK/NA                 6      6      6      4      6      5
 
                     WHITE......   ATTEND SRVCS                      Philly
                     Prot   Cath   Weekly Less Urban    SbUrbn ExUrbn land Shore
                                                        
Marry                36%    43%    31%    56%  54%      50%    49%    44%    42%
Civil unions         40     40     44     28   29       31     37     30     41
No recognition       18     12     18     11    9       13     10     22     12
DK/NA                 6      6      6      5    7        6      4      4      6
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   AGE IN YEARS.....    ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME
                     Yes    No     18-49  50-64  65+    <30K  30-50  50-100 >100
 
Marry                61%    39%    59%    46%    31%    36%    40%    49%    58%
Civil unions         29     36     28     37     39     30     35     37     32
No recognition        6     18     11     12     19     27     16     10      9
DK/NA                 3      7      3      6     10      7      9      5      2
 
TREND: Do you think same-sex couples should be allowed legally to marry, should be allowed legally to form civil unions but not marry, or should not be allowed to obtain legal recognition of their relationships?
                     Mar 01  Apr 23
                     2012    2009
                             
Marry                47      42
Civil unions         34      30
No recognition       13      20
DK/NA                 6       8
 
 
41. As you may know Governor Christie recently vetoed a same-sex marriage bill passed by the state legislature. Do you think Governor Christie did the right thing or the wrong thing?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Right thing          48%    74%    30%    46%    56%    42%
Wrong thing          47     24     66     47     40     53
DK/NA                 5      2      4      7      5      5
 
                     WHITE......   ATTEND SRVCS                      Philly
                     Prot   Cath   Weekly Less   Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land Shore
                                                 
Right thing          63%    55%    62%    41%    41%    42%    54%    54%    56%
Wrong thing          34     40     32     55     55     52     45     42     38
DK/NA                 3      5      6      4      4      6      1      4      5
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   AGE IN YEARS.....    ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME
                     Yes    No     18-49  50-64  65+    <30K  30-50  50-100 >100
 
Right thing          38%    55%    41%    47%    61%    56%    56%    49%    42%
Wrong thing          58     40     55     48     34     39     42     46     55
DK/NA                 4      5      3      5      5      6      3      5      3
 
 
42. Governor Christie says he is prepared to strengthen the state's civil union law. Do you think that is a good idea or bad idea?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Good idea            58%    70%    49%    60%    62%    55%
Bad idea             25     17     35     22     24     26
DK/NA                17     13     17     18     14     19
 
                     WHITE......   ATTEND SRVCS                      Philly
                     Prot   Cath   Weekly Less   Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land Shore
                                                 
Good idea            63%    64%    61%    58%    55%    54%    66%    52%    69%
Bad idea             19     19     20     27     31     28     22     27     16
DK/NA                18     17     19     15     14     18     13     21     15
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   AGE IN YEARS.....    ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME
                     Yes    No     18-49  50-64  65+    <30K  30-50  50-100 >100
 
Good idea            56%    60%    59%    58%    59%    51%    60%    57%    64%
Bad idea             27     24     28     24     22     30     26     27     22
DK/NA                16     17     13     18     19     19     14     15     13
 
43. Governor Christie thinks New Jersey voters should decide the issue of same-sex marriage in a referendum in November. Do you think that is a good idea or a bad idea?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Good idea            67%    84%    49%    71%    68%    65%
Bad idea             28     15     44     23     28     29
DK/NA                 5      1      6      6      4      6
 
                     WHITE......   ATTEND SRVCS                      Philly
                     Prot   Cath   Weekly Less   Urban  SbUrbn ExUrbn land Shore
                                                 
Good idea            75%    72%    64%    68%    62%    64%    74%    70%    67%
Bad idea             21     23     28     28     33     31     24     23     27
DK/NA                 4      5      7      4      5      5      2      7      6
 
                     COLLEGE DEG   AGE IN YEARS.....    ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME
                     Yes    No     18-49  50-64  65+    <30K  30-50  50-100 >100
 
Good idea            64%    68%    69%    68%    62%    58%    62%    71%    68%
Bad idea             32     26     26     28     33     37     32     24     28
DK/NA                 4      6      5      4      5      6      6      5      4
 

Demographic Summary