April 10, 2014 - New Jersey Voters Back Wage Freeze, Nix Gas Tax Hike, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters Split On Recreational Marijuana
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New Jersey voters support 53 - 42 percent a wage freeze for state workers, but oppose 65 - 33 percent raising the gas tax to balance the state budget, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released today.

A total of 87 percent of voters say New Jersey's budget problems are "very serious" or "somewhat serious," the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

By a 57 - 32 percent margin, voters say cut services rather than raise taxes to balance the budget. Voter opinions on possible options are:
  • Oppose 57 - 38 percent layoffs for state workers;
  • 48 percent oppose state worker furloughs, with 43 percent in favor;
  • Support 55 - 40 percent reduced pension benefits for new state workers.
None of the listed sub-groups wants to raise the gas tax. Opposition ranges from 56 - 42 percent among Democrats to 77 - 21 percent among Republicans.

In an open-ended question, allowing for any answer, 26 percent of New Jersey voters cite taxes as the top priority for Gov. Christopher Christie and the State Legislature, with 18 percent naming the economy or jobs, 16 percent listing education and 5 percent citing the state budget or spending.

"While the George Washington Bridge scandal dominates the headlines, voters are starting to recognize that the budget squeeze is a big problem and they're prepared to look at cuts in public-employee pensions," said Maurice Carroll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

"Sure it's a labor-friendly state, but voters would consider limiting benefits for public employees. Layoffs? No. Furloughs? It's close. And a bit more than half of voters would support a wage freeze."

"One thing that unites all voters in this most partisan state is opposition to a gas tax hike," Carroll said. "We're all against it." Recreational Marijuana

With yawning gender, age and partisan gaps, New Jersey voters are divided 48 - 48 percent on the issue of legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal used.

Men support legalization 54 - 43 percent, with women opposed 52 - 43 percent. Voters 18 to 29 years old are for it 56 - 43 percent, with voters over 65 years old opposed 63 - 33 percent. Democrats are for legalization 55 - 41 percent, with Republicans opposed 61 - 34 percent. Independent voters are divided with 48 - 48 percent.

Only 41 percent of New Jersey voters, including 56 percent of voters under 30, acknowledge that they've smoked marijuana.

Marijuana is just as dangerous as alcohol, 49 percent of voters say, while 16 percent say it is more dangerous and 31 percent say it is less dangerous.

Marijuana use does not lead to other drug use, New Jersey voters say 50 - 42 percent.

If personal marijuana possession were legal in New Jersey, 60 percent of voters say it would not bother them if a neighbor grew marijuana in their home.

But 87 percent of voters say they would be "somewhat uncomfortable" or "very uncomfortable" riding in a car driven by someone who had consumed a moderate amount of marijuana.

"There's enormous interest in the proposal to legalize marijuana, but voters split down the middle. Republicans say no; Democrats say yes and the highest support comes from younger voters," Carroll said.

"Most New Jerseyans think that alcohol is as dangerous or more dangerous than marijuana. If their neighbor wanted to grow marijuana, most wouldn't object but almost nobody would want to ride in a car driven by a pot smoker."

From April 2 - 7, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,356 New Jersey voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.7 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, Iowa, Colorado and the nation as a public service and for research.

For more information, visit http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

11. What do you think should be the top priority for Governor Christie and the State Legislature in 2014?
                            Tot
 
Economy(General)             4%
Jobs/Unemployment           13
Economy(Other Specific)      1
 
Wages/Minimum Wage           1
 
Budget(General)              3
Government spending          1
Budget deficit               1
 
Taxes(General)              15
Property taxes              10
Taxes(Other Specific)        1
 
Education(General)          12
Teachers                     1
Funding/Spending education   1
Education(Other Specific)    2
 
Unions(General)              3
 
Hurricane Sandy Recovery     3
Healthcare                   2
Elderly Issues               1
Gun Issues/Policy/Control    1
Housing/Affordable housing   1
Immigration Issues           1
Marijuana                    1
Roads/Traffic/Infrastructure 1
Social Issues                1
 
Bipartisan/Cross party lines/
 Coop to get things done     1
GovernmentCorruption/Ethics  1
Replace Governor             1
 
Other                        8
DK/NA                        8
 
 
40. How serious do you think New Jersey's budget problems are; very serious, somewhat serious, not too serious, or not at all serious?
                                                               AGE IN YRS..............
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    18-29  30-49  50-64  65+
 
Very serious         43%    37%    43%    46%    44%    42%    25%    47%    44%    44%
Somewhat serious     44     48     45     43     43     45     49     42     46     43
Not too serious       8     11      6      7      9      7     17      6      5     11
Not at all serious    1      2      2      1      1      2      3      2      1      1
DK/NA                 3      2      5      2      3      3      6      3      4      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
                     Apr 10  Apr 21  Feb 10  Nov 11  Jan 20  Nov 11  Dec 11
                     2014    2011    2011    2010    2010    2010    2002
 
Very serious         43      79      82      86      80      86      35
Somewhat serious     44      18      15      13      17      13      51
Not too serious       8       1       2       -       2       -      10
Not at all serious    1       1       1       -       -       -       1
DK/NA                 3       1       1       1       1       1       3
 
 
41. To balance the state budget, if you had to choose, would you prefer raising taxes or cutting government programs and services?
                                                               AGE IN YRS..............
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    18-29  30-49  50-64  65+
 
Raising taxes        32%    11%    56%    23%    32%    33%    39%    35%    30%    29%
Cutting services     57     82     33     66     61     54     56     58     58     56
DK/NA                11      7     12     11      8     13      6      7     11     15
 
TREND: To balance the state budget, if you had to choose, would you prefer raising taxes or cutting government programs and services? (* High also 32% Apr 2011)
                                                             RAISE TAXES...
                                                             High    Low
                     Apr 10  Apr 21  Feb 10  Nov 11  Jan 20  Apr 10  Nov 24
                     2014    2011    2011    2010    2010    2014*   2009
                                                                     
Raising taxes        32      32      26      26      25      32      23
Cutting services     57      59      64      62      62      57      68
DK/NA                11       9       9      13      13      11       9
 
 
42. To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose - layoffs for state employees?
                                                               AGE IN YRS..............
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    18-29  30-49  50-64  65+
 
Support              38%    55%    19%    46%    41%    35%    31%    36%    42%    37%
Oppose               57     41     77     50     55     59     67     60     55     55
DK/NA                 5      4      4      5      4      6      2      4      3      8
 
TREND: To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose layoffs for state employees?
                     Apr 10  Nov 17  Apr 21  Feb 10  Nov 11
                     2014    2011    2011    2011    2010
 
Support              38      39      50      56      54
Oppose               57      54      43      38      39
DK/NA                 5       7       7       7       7
 
 
43. To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose - furloughs for state employees?
                                                               AGE IN YRS..............
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    18-29  30-49  50-64  65+
 
Support              43%    52%    36%    45%    43%    43%    41%    38%    50%    44%
Oppose               48     40     56     46     50     47     46     54     44     46
DK/NA                 9      8      8      9      7     10     13      8      6     11
 
TREND: To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose furloughs for state employees?
                     Apr 10  Nov 17  Apr 21  Feb 10  Nov 11
                     2014    2011    2011    2011    2010
 
Support              43      49      61      65      63
Oppose               48      37      28      24      25
DK/NA                 9      14      11      12      11
 
 
44. To help balance the state budget, do you support or oppose - a wage freeze for state workers?
                                                               AGE IN YRS..............
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    18-29  30-49  50-64  65+
 
Support              53%    66%    41%    59%    55%    52%    33%    53%    56%    59%
Oppose               42     29     55     35     42     42     65     42     38     35
DK/NA                 5      5      5      5      3      7      2      4      6      6
 
TREND: To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose a wage freeze for state workers?
                     Apr 10  Nov 17  Apr 21  Feb 10  Nov 11  Jan 20  Nov 24
                     2014    2011    2011    2011    2010    2010    2009
 
Support              53      62      72      77      78      71      75
Oppose               42      32      23      20      19      23      21
DK/NA                 5       6       4       3       3       6       4
 
 
45. To help balance the state budget, do you support or oppose - reducing pension benefits for new state workers?
                                                               AGE IN YRS..............
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    18-29  30-49  50-64  65+
 
Support              55%    65%    43%    62%    58%    52%    47%    52%    61%    54%
Oppose               40     29     51     34     38     42     47     43     36     39
DK/NA                 5      6      5      4      4      6      6      5      3      7
 
TREND: To help balance the state budget, do you support or oppose reducing pension benefits for new state workers?
                     Apr 10  Apr 21  Feb 10
                     2014    2011    2011
 
Support              55      63      66
Oppose               40      32      29
DK/NA                 5       6       5
 
 
46. To help balance the state budget, do you support or oppose - an increase in the gasoline tax?
                                                               AGE IN YRS..............
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    18-29  30-49  50-64  65+
 
Support              33%    21%    42%    35%    36%    30%    32%    33%    34%    34%
Oppose               65     77     56     64     63     67     67     66     65     63
DK/NA                 2      2      2      1      1      2      1      2      1      3
 
TREND: To help balance the state budget, do you support or oppose an increase in the gasoline tax?
                     Apr 10  Jan 27  Apr 02
                     2014    2005    2003
 
Support              33      23      33
Oppose               65      71      64
DK/NA                 2       6       3
 
 
47. Do you support or oppose allowing adults in New Jersey to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use?
                                                               AGE IN YRS..............
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    18-29  30-49  50-64  65+
 
Support              48%    34%    55%    48%    54%    43%    56%    54%    51%    33%
Oppose               48     61     41     48     43     52     43     42     45     63
DK/NA                 4      4      3      4      3      5      1      3      4      4
 
 
48. Keeping in mind that all of your answers in this survey are confidential, have you, yourself ever happened to try marijuana?
                                                               AGE IN YRS..............
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    18-29  30-49  50-64  65+
 
Yes                  41%    37%    42%    41%    46%    37%    56%    45%    50%    19%
No                   58     61     57     58     53     62     44     53     49     80
DK/NA                 1      2      1      1      1      1      -      2      1      1
 
 
49. Do you think marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol, less dangerous than alcohol, or about equally as dangerous as alcohol?
                                                               AGE IN YRS..............
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    18-29  30-49  50-64  65+
 
More                 16%    24%     9%    18%    16%    17%     6%    16%    17%    20%
Less                 31     21     40     24     36     27     53     35     29     18
Equally              49     52     47     54     45     53     38     47     52     55
NEITHR DANGEROUS(VOL) -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -
DK/NA                 3      3      3      3      3      4      2      2      2      6
 
 
50. Do you think that for most people, the use of marijuana leads to the use of other drugs, or don't you think so?
                                                               AGE IN YRS..............
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    18-29  30-49  50-64  65+
 
Yes                  42%    51%    37%    44%    42%    43%    38%    40%    36%    55%
No                   50     43     56     48     52     49     57     55     57     34
DK/NA                 7      6      7      8      6      8      5      5      7     11
 
 
51. In Colorado where marijuana is legal for recreational use, people are allowed to grow the plants in their homes. If marijuana is legalized in New Jersey, would it bother you if one of your neighbors is growing marijuana in their home or wouldn't that bother you?
                                                               AGE IN YRS..............
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    18-29  30-49  50-64  65+
 
Yes                  38%    50%    32%    39%    31%    45%    32%    37%    29%    54%
No                   60     49     66     59     68     54     68     62     70     44
DK/NA                 1      1      1      2      1      1      -      1      1      2
 
 
52. How comfortable would you be as a passenger in a car, with a driver who has smoked or consumed moderate amounts of marijuana; very comfortable, somewhat comfortable, somewhat uncomfortable, or very uncomfortable?
                                                               AGE IN YRS..............
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    18-29  30-49  50-64  65+
 
Very comfortable      3%     3%     4%     3%     3%     3%     7%     3%     3%     1%
Smwht comfortable     8      4     10      9      9      7      9     11      9      5
Smwht uncomfortable  18     16     22     14     24     14     28     19     18     13
Very uncomfortable   69     77     63     72     62     75     54     66     69     78
DK/NA                 1      -      1      2      2      1      1      1      1      2
 
 

Demographic Summary

Additional Crosstabs