March 18, 2003 - New Jersey Voters Oppose Affirmative Action, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Back Death Penalty, In Sync With National Trend
New Jersey voters oppose 60 - 34 percent "affirmative action programs that give preferences to black and other minorities," according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

This is a stronger opposition than found in a March 5 national poll by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University, where American voters opposed affirmative action 53 - 37 percent.

In New Jersey, black voters support affirmative action 72 - 20 percent, while white voters oppose it 68 - 26 percent. Women oppose affirmative action 55 - 39 percent, while men oppose it 66 - 28 percent.

In a simple "favor or oppose" question, New Jersey voters favor the death penalty 58 - 33 percent. But when the choice is death or life without parole, the death option slips to 49 percent with 45 percent for life without parole.

In the nationwide poll, Americans favored the death penalty 64 - 29 in the simple question, but backed off to 48 - 44 percent when offered the life without parole option.

"New Jersey voters are more likely than voters nationwide to favor abortion under any or most circumstances and are somewhat stronger in their opposition to the death penalty," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"This is not surprising in a state that has a reputation of being more liberal and more Democratic than the national average. That liberal tilt seems to disappear, however, when it comes to affirmative action, with New Jersey voters if anything a little more against favorable treatment of minority candidates than people are nationwide," Richards added.

"Of the controversial issues faced by the Supreme Court, New Jersey voters feel most strongly about abortion, with nearly seven in 10 saying it should be legal in most or all cases. That holds true across all demographic groups -- women and men, black and white, young and old."

Abortion should be legal in all cases, 30 percent of New Jersey voters say, while 39 percent say it should be legal in most cases. In contrast, 17 percent say abortion should be illegal in most cases and 10 percent say abortion should be illegal in all cases.

New Jersey voters are more pro-choice than the rest of the country, the Quinnipiac University poll finds. Nationally, 23 percent of Americans say abortion should be legal in all cases, with 32 percent saying abortion should be legal in most cases; 23 percent saying abortion should be illegal in most cases and 18 percent saying illegal in all cases.

From January 22 - 27, Quinnipiac University surveyed 929 New Jersey registered voters, with a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percent.

From February 26 - March 3, Quinnipiac surveyed 1,232 registered voters nationwide, with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percent.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and nationally as a public service and for research. For additional data -- www.quinnipiac.edu and quicklinks or call (203) 582-5201.

24. Do you favor or oppose affirmative action programs that give preferences to blacks and other minorities?

                      Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Wht   Blk   Men   Wom


Favor 34% 16% 51% 30% 26% 71% 28% 39% Oppose 60 80 40 64 68 21 66 55 DK/NA 6 4 8 7 6 7 6 7

US CT NY PA

Favor 37% 40% 42% 36% Oppose 53 50 49 57 DK/NA 10 10 9 7

25a.(Split sample A) Do you favor or oppose the death penalty for persons convicted of murder?

                      Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Men   Wom


Favor 58% 71% 45% 58% 68% 49% Oppose 33 22 45 35 24 42 DK/NA 9 7 10 7 8 9

US CT NY PA

Favor 64% 60% 57% 67% Oppose 29 34 37 28 DK/NA 7 6 6 4

25b.(Split sample B) Which punishment do you prefer for people convicted of murder: the death penalty or life in prison with no chance of parole?

                      Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Men   Wom


Death penalty 49% 59% 43% 49% 60% 41% Life/No parole 45 36 52 45 36 53 DK/NA 5 5 5 6 4 6

US CT NY PA

Death penalty 48% 47% 38% 50% Life/No parole 44 46 53 42 DK/NA 8 7 8 8

26. Do you think abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases or illegal in all cases?

                      Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Men   Wom


Legal all cases 30% 21% 33% 34% 27% 33% Legal most cases 39 38 40 39 42 36 Illegal most cases 17 23 15 13 17 17 Illegal all cases 10 14 8 9 8 12 DK/NA 4 3 5 4 6 3

US CT NY PA

Legal all cases 23% 29% 32% 23% Legal most cases 32 40 34 32 Illegal most cases 23 17 16 24 Illegal all cases 18 10 13 17 DK/NA 4 4 5 4