December 11, 2002 - New Jersey Voters Put Coal In McGreevey's Stocking, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; But More Blame Whitman For Budget Woes
His handling of the state budget and taxes has hammered New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey's approval rating, giving him his first negative score, 37 - 42 percent among registered voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

This is Gov. McGreevey's lowest rating in seven surveys since he took office. His previous low was 40 - 32 percent in an April 24 poll by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN- uh-pe-ack) University.

Voters give McGreevey negative scores including:
  • 33 - 51 percent for his handling of the state budget;
  • 33 - 57 percent for his handling of taxes;
  • 33 - 50 percent for his handling of the economy and jobs.
The Governor gets a positive 45 - 36 percent score for his handling of education.

"After a week of hearing about Gov. McGreevey's trip to Ireland and alleged misuse of state helicopters, many New Jersey voters are responding with a hearty holiday greeting - 'bah humbug,'" said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling

Institute. "But the governor's problems run much deeper than just bad press brought on by the questionable use of state funds. Just one voter out of three approve of how he is handling all of the major pocketbook issues - the economy and jobs, the state budget, and taxes. And the number who are satisfied with the way things are going in New Jersey stands at a six-year low."

"Most voters are still optimistic about McGreevey's next three years in the state house. Only a handful blame him for the budget woes, which most say are either the fault of the economy in general or Gov. Whitman," Richards added.

Only 4 percent of voters are "very satisfied" with life in the Garden State, while 47 percent are "somewhat satisfied;" 31 percent are "somewhat dissatisfied," and 17 percent are "very dissatisfied." This is the lowest satisfaction rating since Quinnipiac University began New Jersey surveys in 1996.

Still, 52 percent of voters are optimistic about the next three years with McGreevey at the helm, while 39 percent are pessimistic. In January, 65 percent of voters were optimistic about McGreevey's four years.

New Jersey's budget problems are "very serious," 35 percent of voters say, and another 51 percent say they are "somewhat serious."

Former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman is most responsible for New Jersey's budget deficit, 35 percent of voters say, while 7 percent say McGreevey is most responsible; 32 percent blame poor economic conditions and 18 percent blame the State Legislature.

McGreevey has been a better governor than Whitman, 30 percent of voters say, while 25 percent say Whitman was better and 37 percent say both are the same.

President Bush gets a 58 - 36 percent approval rating in New Jersey, his lowest since before September 11, 2001.

Sen. John Corzine has a 47 - 22 percent approval, similar to previous measures.

"Bad economic times take their toll on all office-holders. President Bush remains on the plus side, but he's down from a 90 - 7 percent approval in October, 2001," Richards said.

From December 3 - 9, Quinnipiac University surveyed 934 New Jersey registered voters, with a margin of error of +/- 3.2 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.

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way James McGreevey is handling his job as Governor?
                                                                     Union
                      Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom    HouseHld


Approve 37% 24% 48% 37% 39% 35% 43% Disapprove 42 61 26 44 44 40 43 DK/NA 21 16 25 20 16 25 14

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Approve 40% 37% 34% 47% 28% Disapprove 38 42 50 31 49 DK/NA 22 22 15 21 22



2. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jon Corzine is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                                     Union
                      Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom    HouseHld


Approve 47% 34% 58% 47% 47% 47% 50% Disapprove 22 32 13 25 28 18 22 DK/NA 30 34 29 28 25 35 28

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Approve 55% 48% 45% 45% 41% Disapprove 18 25 25 18 24 DK/NA 27 27 30 37 35



3. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as President?
                                                                     Union
                      Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom    HouseHld


Approve 58% 92% 33% 59% 64% 53% 58% Disapprove 36 6 59 37 33 40 36 DK/NA 5 2 7 4 3 7 6

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Approve 51% 55% 64% 61% 66% Disapprove 41 40 33 35 29 DK/NA 8 5 2 4 5



6. In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in New Jersey today? Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?
                                                                     Union
                      Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom    HouseHld


Very satisfied 4% 2% 6% 3% 4% 3% 4% Smwht satisfied 47 38 53 47 47 47 41 Smwht dissatisfied 31 40 26 31 30 32 33 Very dissatisfied 17 21 15 16 17 17 21 DK/NA 1 - - 2 1 1 1

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Very satisfied 3% 2% 9% 4% 4% Smwht satisfied 51 50 30 57 42 Smwht dissatisfied 30 30 40 25 33 Very dissatisfied 16 17 19 14 20 DK/NA - 1 2 - -



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

                                                                     Union
                      Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom    HouseHld


Optimistic 52% 37% 66% 48% 48% 56% 56% Pessimistic 39 55 25 43 43 35 38 DK/NA 9 8 9 9 9 9 6

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Optimistic 57% 52% 44% 66% 42% Pessimistic 39 37 48 24 49 DK/NA 4 11 8 10 9



8. Would you say James McGreevey is doing a better job as governor than you expected, a worse job, or about what you expected?

                                                                     Union
                      Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom    HouseHld


Better 10% 6% 9% 13% 13% 6% 7% Worse 22 28 17 23 21 22 21 As expected 63 60 66 60 60 65 67 DK/NA 6 5 8 4 5 6 4

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Better 11% 7% 9% 14% 10% Worse 17 25 29 14 23 As expected 68 62 57 64 62 DK/NA 4 6 6 8 6



9. Do you think James McGreevey has been a better Governor than Christine Whitman, a worse Governor, or about the same?
                                                                     Union
                      Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom    HouseHld


Better 30% 10% 47% 29% 30% 30% 34% Worse 25 46 13 24 29 23 23 About the same 37 38 34 38 33 40 34 DK/NA 7 6 6 9 8 7 9

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Better 28% 33% 29% 29% 29% Worse 25 25 34 19 25 About the same 38 34 32 44 39 DK/NA 9 8 4 9 7



10. Would you say that James McGreevey has strong leadership qualities or not? -

                                                                     Union
                      Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom    HouseHld


Yes 48% 31% 61% 46% 46% 49% 50% No 40 58 29 39 43 38 39 DK/NA 12 11 10 14 12 13 11

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Yes 51% 47% 41% 59% 41% No 38 42 48 29 43 DK/NA 11 11 11 12 16



11. Would you say that James McGreevey has a likable personality or not? -

                                                                     Union
                      Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom    HouseHld


Yes 64% 52% 76% 61% 63% 64% 69% No 24 35 13 28 24 25 23 DK/NA 12 14 11 11 13 11 8

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Yes 68% 63% 59% 66% 62% No 23 24 34 21 22 DK/NA 9 13 7 12 15



12. Do you approve or disapprove of the way James McGreevey is handling the state budget?
                                                                     Union
                      Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom    HouseHld


Approve 33% 23% 41% 34% 39% 28% 33% Disapprove 51 63 37 56 50 52 54 DK/NA 16 14 22 10 11 20 14

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Approve 25% 35% 30% 41% 32% Disapprove 58 49 56 41 53 DK/NA 17 16 14 17 15

13. Do you approve or disapprove of the way James McGreevey is handling education?
                                                                     Union
                      Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom    HouseHld


Approve 45% 35% 54% 43% 47% 43% 45% Disapprove 36 45 27 38 36 35 38 DK/NA 19 20 19 19 17 21 17

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Approve 38% 46% 43% 55% 41% Disapprove 44 33 40 26 39 DK/NA 18 21 17 19 20

14. Do you approve or disapprove of the way James McGreevey is handling taxes?
                                                                     Union
                      Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom    HouseHld


Approve 33% 17% 40% 37% 33% 32% 29% Disapprove 57 74 48 52 57 57 60 DK/NA 11 9 12 10 10 11 11

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Approve 33% 29% 29% 40% 34% Disapprove 55 58 66 49 55 DK/NA 12 13 5 10 10

15. Do you approve or disapprove of the way James McGreevey is handling the economy and jobs?
                                                                     Union
                      Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom    HouseHld


Approve 33% 22% 41% 35% 38% 30% 32% Disapprove 50 62 39 50 48 51 52 DK/NA 17 16 20 15 14 19 16

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Approve 31% 31% 27% 49% 31% Disapprove 52 50 58 35 53 DK/NA 17 18 15 16 16



18. How serious do you think New Jersey's budget problems are - very serious, somewhat serious, not too serious, or not at all serious?

                                                                     Union
                      Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom    HouseHld


Very serious 35% 35% 37% 35% 34% 36% 38% Smwht serious 51 52 49 52 50 53 54 Not too serious 10 8 11 11 13 8 5 Not at all serious 1 1 1 - 2 - 1 DK/NA 3 3 2 2 2 3 2

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Very serious 39% 34% 37% 29% 37% Smwht serious 44 54 52 56 48 Not too serious 12 9 7 12 12 Not at all serious 2 1 1 - 1 DK/NA 3 3 3 3 2



19. Who or what do you think is most responsible for New Jersey's budget deficit -- Poor economic conditions, Governor McGreevey, Former Governor Whitman or the state legislature?
                                                                     Union
                      Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom    HouseHld


Economic conditions 32% 41% 24% 33% 31% 33% 24% McGreevey 7 12 5 5 7 7 6 Whitman 35 12 50 37 36 33 44 State legislature 18 25 13 16 17 18 17 OTHER(VOL) 2 2 3 2 4 1 4 DK/NA 6 9 4 6 5 8 5

Philly Urban SubUrbn ExUrbn land Shore

Economic conditions 33% 31% 34% 34% 31% McGreevey 5 7 7 9 7 Whitman 33 36 27 40 36 State legislature 27 14 22 12 19 OTHER(VOL) - 5 - 1 2 DK/NA 2 7 10 5 5



20. (If "State legislature" on q19) Is it mainly the Republicans in the state legislature or the Democrats, who are more responsible for the budget deficit?

                      State legislature
                      Respondents q19


Republicans 27% Democrats 40 DK/NA 33