May 14, 2001 - Politicians Favor Special Interests Over Voters, New Jersey Voters Tell Quinnipiac University Poll; Verniero Should Resign Or Be Removed
Elected officials in New Jersey care about special interests more than "people like you," 75 percent of New Jersey voters tell a Quinnipiac University poll released today, while 14 percent say politicians put "people like you" first.

Government corruption in New Jersey is a "very serious problem," 23 percent of voters say, while 45 percent say it is "somewhat serious;" 21 percent say it is "not too serious," and 4 percent say it is "not a problem."

But 77 percent of New Jersey voters say their elected officials have the same honesty and integrity as officials in other states, while 12 percent say New Jersey politicians have less honesty and integrity and 6 percent say they are more honest.

"'Hey! Our politicians are just as honest - or just as dishonest - as your politicians,' New Jersey voters tell us. Maybe it's because they want to throw the rascals out, but 43 percent of voters say they are more likely to go to the polls when they hear about allegations of corruption. Only 7 percent say they are less likely to vote, and the rest say stories about corruption don't affect their vote," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Voters give acting Gov. Donald DiFrancesco a 42 - 27 percent approval rating.

Sen. Robert Torricelli gets a 41 - 34 percent approval, while Sen. Jon Corzine gets a 49 - 20 percent approval. President Bush gets a 57 - 35 percent approval.

"New Jersey voters did not back Bush, but they give the new President pretty good grades. Approval for the local guys is lukewarm, at best," Carroll said. "The flood of negative headlines seems to be taking a toll on Sen. Torricelli's rating. While his approval has hovered in the low 40s for months, his disapproval has been creeping up."

Racial profiling is a "very serious problem," 32 percent of New Jersey voters say, while 33 percent say it is "somewhat serious;" 20 percent say it is "not too serious," and 11 percent say it is "not a problem." Seventy-eight percent of voters say they have read or heard something about allegations that State Supreme Court Justice Peter Verniero misled lawmakers about racial profiling by State Police. Of this group:
  • 36 percent say Justice Verniero should resign;
  • 18 percent say the State Legislature should remove Verniero;
  • 22 percent say the Legislature should censure Verniero;
  • 16 percent say Verniero should remain on the court with no action by the Legislature.



"A big majority of voters know something about the controversy involving Justice Verniero and racial profiling. And among the voters who know, most want him out. They prefer that his departure be voluntary," Carroll said.

"Racial profiling is a very serious problem, one third of voters say. Once again we see a racial divide: 79 percent of black voters and 24 percent of white voters see racial profiling as a very serious problem."

From May 1 - 8, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,181 New Jersey registered voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percent.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as a public

service and for research. For additional data -- www.quinnipiac.edu

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald DiFrancesco is handling his job as acting Governor of New Jersey?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 42% 50% 35% 43% 44% 40%

Disapprove 27 20 31 28 28 25

DK/NA 31 30 34 29 28 34

2. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Robert Torricelli is handling his job as United States Senator?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 41% 33% 49% 40% 39% 43%

Disapprove 34 44 24 36 41 28

DK/NA 25 23 27 24 21 29

3. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jon Corzine is handling his job as United States Senator?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 49% 30% 64% 49% 47% 50%

Disapprove 20 33 9 21 26 16

DK/NA 31 37 27 30 27 34

4. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as President?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 57% 95% 30% 55% 61% 54%

Disapprove 35 4 60 36 32 39

DK/NA 7 1 10 9 7 8

5. Is your opinion of Donald DiFrancesco favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Favorable 14% 22% 10% 13% 17% 12%

Unfavorable 17 18 19 16 21 14

Mixed 25 23 24 28 23 27

Hvn't hrd enough 43 36 46 42 39 46

REFUSED 1 1 - 2 1 1

14. How much of a problem, if at all, is government corruption in New Jersey today? Is it a very serious problem, a somewhat serious problem, a not too serious problem, or not a problem at all?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Very serious problem 23% 18% 26% 23% 21% 25%

Smwht serious 45 43 42 50 46 44

Not too serious 21 27 22 18 22 21

Not a problem at all 4 6 4 4 5 3

DK/NA 6 7 6 6 5 6

15. When you hear or read about allegations of government corruption in New Jersey does that make you more likely to vote in elections, less likely to vote, or doesn't it affect whether you will vote?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


More likely 43% 46% 42% 44% 39% 45%

Less likely 7 3 9 8 6 8

Doesn't affect vote 49 51 48 48 54 46

DK/NA 1 1 1 1 1 1

16. Compared to elected officials in other states, do you think that New Jersey's elected officials have more honesty and integrity, less honesty and integrity, or about as much honesty and integrity?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


More 6% 9% 4% 5% 6% 5%

Less 12 13 10 13 14 10

About as much 77 71 81 77 74 78

DK/NA 6 7 5 6 5 6

17. Do you think most elected officials in New Jersey care more about special interests, or care more about people like you?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Special interests 75% 69% 74% 80% 76% 74%

People like you 14 19 13 11 15 13

DK/NA} 11 12 12 9 9 13

18. How much of a problem, if at all, is racial profiling in New Jersey, that is the police using race to determine who to stop and question? Is it a very serious problem in New Jersey, a somewhat serious problem, a not too serious problem, or not a problem at all?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Wht     Blk


Very serious problem 32% 15% 47% 29% 28% 35% 24% 79%

Smwht serious 33 36 32 34 30 36 36 15

Not too serious 20 26 13 22 23 17 23 3

Not a problem at all 11 17 5 11 15 8 12 3

DK/NA 4 6 2 4 4 4 5 1

19. Have you heard or read anything about allegations that State Supreme Court Justice Peter Verniero misled lawmakers about racial profiling by state police?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Wht     Blk


Yes 78% 78% 79% 79% 82% 75% 79% 75%

No 21 21 20 20 17 24 20 24

DK/NA 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1



20. (If "Yes" Q19) What would you most like to see happen --

(A) Verniero resign from the Supreme Court. (B) The legislature remove Verniero from the Supreme Court. (C) The legislature censure Verniero, that is formally reprimand him. (D) The legislature drop the matter and allow Verniero to remain on the Supreme Court.
                          Heard or read about allegations ...........................
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     Wht    Blk


(A) Verniero resign 36% 31% 41% 37% 36% 36% 36% 34%

(B) Legislature remove Verniero 18 9 24 19 15 21 15 36

(C) Legislature censure Verniero 22 26 19 22 22 22 24 15

(D) Legislature drop it, Verniero remains on SC 16 29 9 14 20 13 18 6

DK/NA 7 5 7 8 7 7 7 9