January 31, 2002 - Gov. McGreevey Gets Lukewarm First Approval Rating, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; But 65% Of New Jersey Voters Are Optimistic About Him
New Jersey voters approve 42 - 19 percent of the job the new Governor, James McGreevey is doing, with 39 percent undecided, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. In the next four years, Gov. McGreevey will raise taxes, 71 percent of voters say, while 19 percent say he won't.

But by a 65 - 22 percent margin, New Jersey registered voters are "optimistic about the next four years with James McGreevey as governor."

While they expect a tax increase, 52 percent of voters are "opposed strongly" and 24 percent are "opposed somewhat" to the idea.

And 71 percent of voters are "opposed strongly" to cuts in state aid to local schools, while 12 percent are "opposed somewhat."

From January 22 - 28, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,018 New Jersey registered voters, with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.

"He didn't say, `Read my lips,' but it sure sounded like candidate McGreevey was promising not to raise taxes. Even so, 71 percent of New Jersey voters think that, sometime during his term, Gov. McGreevey will raise taxes," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"If McGreevey is thinking about raising taxes, he might want to give former Gov. James Florio a call. "

"Cut aid to local schools? No way, voters say. New Jersey is a small-town state where people focus immense attention on their schools," Carroll added.

In an open-ended question, where voters can give any answer, 26 percent say their new governor's top priority should be keeping taxes down, while 15 percent want him to improve education and 12 percent want him to balance the budget.

Cutting programs and services to balance the budget gets more support than raising taxes, but voters still are split: 21 percent "favor strongly" cutting programs and services, while 23 percent "favor somewhat;" 18 percent "oppose somewhat," and 29 percent "oppose strongly."

Attitudes on other possible budget-balancing measures are:
  • Raising the gas tax - 12 percent "favor strongly;" 20 percent "favor somewhat;" 17 percent "oppose somewhat;" 48 percent "oppose strongly."
  • Raising business taxes -- 24 percent "favor strongly;" 23 percent "favor somewhat;" 17 percent "oppose somewhat;" 30 percent "oppose strongly."
  • Delaying property tax rebates: 18 percent "favor strongly;" 21 percent "favor somewhat;" 12 percent "oppose somewhat;" 45 percent "oppose strongly."
  • Cutting state aid to local governments -- 10 percent "favor strongly;" 16 percent "favor somewhat;" 26 percent "oppose somewhat;" 39 percent "oppose strongly."
  • Cutting state aid to colleges and universities -- 10 percent "favor strongly;" 11 percent "favor somewhat;" 22 percent "oppose somewhat;" 53 percent "oppose strongly."
The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as a public service and for research.

For additional data -- www.quinnipiac.edu
4. Do you approve or disapprove of the way James McGreevey is handling his job as Governor?
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 42% 30% 54% 36% 43% 41% Disapprove 19 31 12 18 18 19 DK/NA 39 39 35 46 39 40

14. Are you generally optimistic or pessimistic about the next four years with James McGreevey as governor?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Optimistic 65% 54% 76% 62% 64% 66% Pessimistic 22 35 13 23 24 20 DK/NA 13 11 11 15 12 15

15. What is the single most important thing you would like to see James McGreevey accomplish in the next 4 years as governor?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Reduce crime/ Violence general 1% 1% 1% -% -% 1%

Budget/Bal Bud total: 12 10 8 14 14 6 Budget general 3 3 2 3 3 2 Balance the budget 7 5 6 9 9 4 Reducing size of govt./Gov spending 1 1 - 1 1 - Budget other 1 1 - 1 1 -

Taxes total: 26 34 24 21 24 27 Keep taxes down 11 15 10 9 9 12 Keep property tax down 12 15 11 10 11 13 Taxes other 3 4 3 2 4 2

Economy total: 10 10 11 11 11 9 Improve economy gen 4 6 3 4 4 4 Create jobs 5 3 7 7 6 5 Economy other 1 1 1 - 1 -

Healthcare/Costs/ Insurance/HMO's 2 1 2 2 1 2

Help Seniors 1 - 2 - 1 2

Education total: 15 10 18 15 10 19 Improve educ general 9 6 13 8 6 12 Teachers 1 1 - 1 1 1 Increase educ funding 2 1 3 2 1 3 Better way to fund educ 1 1 1 1 - 1 Education other 2 1 1 3 2 2

Environment/Pollution 2 1 1 3 1 2

Eliminate/Reduce highway tolls 1 2 1 2 2 1

Lower auto insurance 9 12 7 10 12 6

Other 6 6 6 7 6 6 DK/NA 12 12 13 8 9 14



16. During the next four years, do you expect that Governor McGreevey will raise taxes or not?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Yes/Will raise taxes 71% 80% 62% 75% 72% 69% No/Will not raise taxes 19 14 26 18 20 19 DK/NA 10 7 12 8 8 12



17. In order to reduce the state budget deficit, would you favor or oppose raising taxes? -- and would you say strongly or somewhat?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Favor strongly 5% 2% 6% 6% 7% 3% Favor smwht 15 9 17 20 17 14 Oppose smwht 24 22 26 22 20 27 Oppose strongly 52 65 49 45 51 54 DK/NA 4 2 3 6 5 3

18. In order to reduce the state budget deficit, would you favor or oppose cutting government programs and services? -- and would you say strongly or somewhat?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Favor strongly 21% 28% 13% 24% 30% 13% Favor smwht 23 28 21 21 23 22 Oppose smwht 18 18 17 20 17 18 Oppose strongly 29 15 41 27 20 37 DK/NA 9 10 9 9 10 9

19. In order to reduce the state budget deficit, would you favor or oppose raising the gas tax? -- and would you say strongly or somewhat?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Favor strongly 12% 10% 13% 13% 15% 10% Favor smwht 20 16 21 21 20 20 Oppose smwht 17 16 16 18 14 20 Oppose strongly 48 55 47 44 49 47 DK/NA 3 3 3 3 2 4

20. In order to reduce the state budget deficit, would you favor or oppose raising taxes on businesses? -- and would you say strongly or somewhat?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Favor strongly 24% 15% 29% 24% 23% 24% Favor smwht 23 17 29 20 18 27 Oppose smwht 17 17 18 19 17 17 Oppose strongly 30 46 20 28 37 23 DK/NA 7 5 4 9 5 8

21. In order to reduce the state budget deficit, would you favor or oppose delaying property tax rebates for homeowners? -- and would you say strongly or somewhat?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Favor strongly 18% 15% 20% 18% 17% 19% Favor smwht 21 26 19 20 24 18 Oppose smwht 12 12 12 11 11 12 Oppose strongly 45 43 45 46 43 47 DK/NA 5 4 5 5 5 4

22. In order to reduce the state budget deficit, would you favor or oppose cutting state aid to local governments? -- and would you say strongly or somewhat?
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Favor strongly 10% 12% 7% 12% 14% 7% Favor smwht 16 18 13 18 18 15 Oppose smwht 26 28 29 21 27 25 Oppose strongly 39 33 43 42 33 44 DK/NA 9 10 8 7 9 8

23. In order to reduce the state budget deficit, would you favor or oppose cutting state aid to local schools? -- and would you say strongly or somewhat?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Favor strongly 7% 8% 5% 7% 9% 5% Favor smwht 6 8 7 6 8 5 Oppose smwht 12 17 10 11 13 11 Oppose strongly 71 63 76 73 66 76 DK/NA 4 4 2 4 4 3

23. In order to reduce the state budget deficit, would you favor or oppose cutting state aid to New Jersey's four year public colleges and universities? -- and would you say strongly or somewhat?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Favor strongly 10% 14% 8% 11% 15% 6% Favor smwht 11 16 10 10 12 11 Oppose smwht 22 24 21 22 25 19 Oppose strongly 53 43 59 52 45 60 DK/NA 3 3 2 4 3 3