August 11, 2014 - New Jersey Voters Want No Pain In Pension Fix, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Support For Bail Reform Is 4-1
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New Jersey voters offer mixed messages on how to fix the state's public employee pension system, but only 12 percent want to increase taxes to make up the multi-billion-dollar shortfall in pension funds, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released today.

Public employee pensions are too high, 47 percent of voters say, while 9 percent say too low and 34 percent say pensions are about right, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

Asked how to make up the pension shortfall:
  • 12 percent of voters, including 16 percent of Democrats, say increase taxes;
  • 26 percent of voters, including 40 percent of Republicans, say find a way to reduce the amount owed to workers when they retire;
  • 53 percent of voters, including 46 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of Democrats and 47 percent of independent voters, say use a combination of increased taxes and reduced payments.
But New Jersey voters say 55 - 33 percent that public employees should not agree to accept lower pension payments in exchange for higher taxes to fund the pension system.

Opposing the trade-off are Republicans 49 - 39 percent, Democrats 62 - 29 percent and independent voters 54 - 34 percent.

"With Gov. Christopher Christie's 'no pain, no gain' summertime tour of the state, the public employee pension system is under attack," said Maurice Carroll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. "But New Jersey is still a labor-friendly state. Should workers accept lower payments? Most voters say no. Should taxes go up? A bigger no."

Voters disapprove 50 - 41 percent of Gov. Christopher Christie's decision to reduce the amount paid to the public workers' pension fund.

If pension costs must be reduced, 52 percent of voters say the best way is to call on public employees to contribute more to their pensions, while 31 percent say the best way is to make public employees wait until they are older to collect pensions.

"We'll have to see what the governor's pension study commission comes up with, but most voters think worker contributions should be raised. Some would favor a longer wait for eligibility," Carroll said.

Holding the line on taxes is helping the New Jersey economy create jobs, 68 percent of voters say, while 20 percent say state spending must be increased to stimulate the economy. Even Democrats favor holding the line on taxes 52 - 31 percent.

On another tax issue, New Jersey voters oppose 63 - 36 percent raising the gasoline tax to finance road improvements and mass transit. Opposition is 68 - 30 percent among Republicans and 65 - 34 percent among independent voters. Democrats are divided, with 48 percent in favor of a tax hike and 51 percent opposed.

"There is little or no support in the Garden State to raise taxes," Carroll said.
Bail Reform


New Jersey voters support 71 - 17 percent proposed changes to the state's bail system, under which suspects believed to be dangerous can be held in jail without bail while suspects not deemed dangerous can be released with no cash bail.

Support is consistently strong among all party, gender and age groups.

"All of a sudden, the bail system is in the news and most voters think it ought to be fixed," Carroll said. "Politicians in Trenton hailed the agreement to put bail reform on the November ballot as an example of bi-partisanship, and voters seem to agree."

From July 31 - August 4, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,148 New Jersey voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 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.

44. Do you think holding the line on taxes is helping the New Jersey economy create jobs or do you think taxes and state spending must be increased to stimulate the economy?
                                                               AGE IN YRS.......
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    18-34  35-54  55+
 
Helping create jobs  68%    85%    52%    71%    71%    65%    72%    70%    65%
More spending needed 20      5     31     20     21     19     25     19     20
DK/NA                12      9     17      9      7     16      3     12     15
 
 
45. Do you think pensions for government workers are too high, too low or about right?
                                                               AGE IN YRS.......
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    18-34  35-54  55+
 
Too high             47%    66%    29%    53%    53%    42%    42%    44%    49%
Too low               9      5     13      7      8     10     14      9      6
About right          34     20     46     32     32     35     40     37     32
DK/NA                10      9     12      8      7     12      4     10     12
 
 
46. Do you approve or disapprove of Governor Christie's decision to reduce the amount paid to the state workers' pension fund?
                                                               AGE IN YRS.......
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    18-34  35-54  55+
 
Approve              41%    65%    21%    45%    49%    35%    41%    40%    42%
Disapprove           50     28     70     47     44     55     55     48     51
DK/NA                 8      7      9      8      7     10      4     11      7
 
 
47. New Jersey's pension fund is billions of dollars short of what is needed to meet its current pension obligations. What do you think should be done to fix this: increase taxes to put more money into the pension fund, or find a way to reduce the amount owed to workers when they retire, or a combination of both?
                                                               AGE IN YRS.......
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    18-34  35-54  55+
 
Increase taxes       12%     4%    16%    13%    12%    11%    11%    14%    10%
Reduce amt owed      26     40     11     30     25     26     19     27     26
Combination          53     46     65     47     52     53     62     51     51
DK/NA                10     10      8     10     12      9      9      8     13
 
 
48. Do you think state workers should agree to accept lower pension payments in exchange for increased taxes to fund the pension system or don't you think so?
                                                               AGE IN YRS.......
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    18-34  35-54  55+
 
Yes                  33%    39%    29%    34%    37%    30%    34%    33%    34%
No                   55     49     62     54     52     58     60     55     54
DK/NA                12     11      9     13     12     12      6     12     12
 
 
49. What do you think is the best way to reduce pension payments to state workers: make them wait until they are older before they can collect their pension, or make them contribute more to their pension?
                                                               AGE IN YRS.......
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    18-34  35-54  55+
 
Wait to collect      31%    29%    31%    36%    35%    28%    39%    32%    27%
Contribute more      52     59     49     50     49     54     54     53     52
DK/NA                17     12     20     14     16     18      7     15     21
 
 
50. Do you support or oppose changing New Jersey's bail system so that suspects believed to be dangerous can be held in jail with no bail while suspects who are not believed to be dangerous can be released through non-monetary alternatives to bail?
                                                               AGE IN YRS.......
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    18-34  35-54  55+
 
Support              71%    72%    70%    70%    75%    68%    79%    68%    71%
Oppose               17     16     18     17     14     18     13     17     15
DK/NA                13     12     12     13     11     14      8     14     13
 
 
51. To help finance road improvements and mass transportation, would you support or oppose an increase in the gasoline tax?
                                                               AGE IN YRS.......
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    18-34  35-54  55+
 
Support              36%    30%    48%    34%    42%    32%    30%    34%    42%
Oppose               63     68     51     65     57     67     70     66     56
DK/NA                 1      2      1      1      1      1      -      -      2
 
TREND: To help finance road improvements and mass transportation, would you support or oppose an increase in the gasoline tax? (*High also 39% Jan 2005)
                                                             SUPPORT.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Aug 11  Nov 10  Jan 20  Nov 24  Dec 11  Jan 20  Dec 11
                     2014    2010    2010    2009    2007    2010*   2007
 
Support              36      35      39      37      24      39      24
Oppose               63      63      59      62      74      59      74
DK/NA                 1       2       2       2       2       2       2
 
 

Demographic Summary

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