August 10, 1998 - Gas Tax Setback Doesn't Hurt Whitman's Approval, Quinnipiac College Poll Finds; Voters Would Use Meadowlands Train Stop
New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman's approval rating stands at 56 - 38 percent, according to a Quinnipiac College Poll released today. Her only negative rating is a 40 - 55 percent for her handling of taxes. This latest approval is similar to her grades in March 4 and April 23 polls by the independent Quinnipiac College.

New Jersey's two U.S. Senators both are in the 2 - 1 approval range: Frank Lautenberg is at 50 - 24 percent and Robert Torricelli is at 42 - 22 percent.

Whitman gets her highest approval, 66 - 23 percent, for her handling of the environment, followed by 63 - 31 percent for handling the economy and jobs, and 49 - 42 percent for her handling of the budget.

"Gov. Whitman gets good marks overall, still above 50 percent, but voters say she could do a better job on the budget and taxes," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac College Polling Institute.

If Whitman is the Republican Vice Presidential candidate in 2000, 20 percent of New Jersey voters say they would be more likely to vote Republican, while 29 percent say they would be less likely and 46 percent say there would be no difference.

"The Governor puts on a good road show. She's a popular speaker and Republican fund-raiser. But if one test of a candidate is how he or she looks as a favorite son -- or daughter -- Republicans might want to take a long look at Whitman as a potential candidate for Vice President," Carroll said.

Looking at a number of transit issues, 66 percent of New Jersey voters say they would "likely" use a train to get to the Meadowlands sports complex. Voters apparently are familiar with the site since 73 percent of them say they've been there at least once.

"If you've ever spent more time in the Meadowlands parking lot than you did at the game, then you'd be one of the people who told the Quinnipiac College Poll that you would use a train to the game, if you could," Carroll said.

Voters split 47 - 51 percent, a statistical tie, on a plan killed in the State Legislature, which would have placed on the November ballot a 4-cent a gallon gasoline tax hike.

A closer look at the numbers shows the gas tax hike would have faced a tougher battle: 23 percent strongly favor it, while 24 percent favor it somewhat; 13 percent oppose it somewhat and 38 percent strongly oppose it.

The most important thing is to repair roads and bridges, 46 percent of New Jersey voters say, while 27 percent say improving bus and train service is most important and 23 percent say building and widening highways is most important.

Looking at trains and buses, 58 percent say improve service within the state, while 33 percent say improve service to New York, Philadelphia and other out of state destinations.

Only 7 percent of voters use buses or trains daily; 4 percent a few days a week; 12 percent use mass transit a few days a month and 26 percent use transit a few days a year.

"The Legislature read voter sentiment on Gov. Whitman's proposed gasoline tax increase accurately. Supporters and opponents are split about evenly, but 38 percent are strongly opposed, " said Carroll. "Politicians believe that people who oppose something are more inclined to vote. Politicians and pollsters know that people might say they support a tax hike, but when they must pull the lever to raise their own taxes, they have second thoughts."

From July 29 - August 4, Quinnipiac College surveyed 613 New Jersey residents who say they are registered voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

The Quinnipiac College 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 Christine Whitman is handling her job as Governor of New Jersey?

                                                                   Apr 23  Mar 4
                    Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     1998    1998


Approve 56% 75% 42% 54% 56% 57% 58% 58%

Disapprove 38 20 54 39 39 36 37 38

DK/NA 6 5 4 7 5 7 6 4



1a. Is that strongly or somewhat?

                                                                   Apr 23  Mar 4
                    Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     1998    1998


Approve strongly 19% 34% 9% 17% 19% 20% 22% 22%

Approve smwht 37 41 32 37 37 37 36 37

Disapprove smwht 14 8 15 17 16 13 18 17

Disapprove strongly 24 12 39 22 24 24 19 21

DK/NA 6 5 4 7 5 7 6 3



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

                                                                   Apr 23  Mar 4
                    Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     1998    1998


Approve 50% 35% 65% 53% 48% 51% 51% 52%

Disapprove 24 39 9 23 28 20 25 23

DK/NA 26 26 25 24 23 29 23 25



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

                                                                   Apr 23  Mar 4
                    Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     1998    1998
                   
Approve             42%     30%     60%     42%     43%     42%     42%     45%
                   
Disapprove          22      34      11      20      27      18      25      23
                   
DK/NA               36      36      29      37      30      40      33      32




5. If Christine Whitman were the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate in the year 2000, would that make you more likely to vote for the Republican ticket, less likely, or wouldn't it make a difference?

                                                                   Apr 23  Mar 4
                    Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     1998    1998


More likely 20% 38% 8% 15% 18% 22% 20% 17%

Less likely 29 15 45 31 31 28 29 32

No difference 46 43 42 49 46 46 46 46

DK/NA 5 4 4 6 5 4 5 5



6. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Christine Whitman is handling the state budget?

                                                                         Mar 4
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     1998


Approve 49% 70% 25% 49% 48% 49% 52%

Disapprove 42 21 62 44 44 40 34

DK/NA 10 8 13 8 8 11 14



7. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Christine Whitman is handling the environment?

                                                                         Mar 4
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     1998


Approve 66% 79% 54% 62% 64% 67% 61%

Disapprove 23 12 32 27 26 21 26

DK/NA 11 9 13 11 10 12 13



8. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Christine Whitman is handling taxes?

                                                                         Mar 4
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     1998


Approve 40% 57% 30% 38% 39% 41% 44%

Disapprove 55 40 64 57 57 52 52

DK/NA 5 3 6 5 3 7 4



9. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Christine Whitman is handling the economy and jobs?

                                                                         Mar 4
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     1998


Approve 63% 83% 44% 63% 67% 61% 66%

Disapprove 31 14 49 31 26 34 25

DK/NA 6 2 7 7 7 5 9



12. How much have you heard or read about Governor Whitman's plan to increase the gas tax to pay for transportation projects - a lot, some, only a little or nothing at all?
                                                                         
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     


A lot 34% 34% 33% 34% 44% 26%

Some 32 30 36 32 28 35

Only a little 17 22 15 17 14 20

Nothing at all 16 13 16 16 14 18

DK/NA - 1 - 1 - 1



13. The plan would raise the state gas tax by 4 cents per gallon, to be phased in over 3 years. The money would be used to fund road and bridge improvements and mass transit. In general, do you favor or oppose this plan? Is that strongly or somewhat?
                                                                         
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Strongly Favor 23% 25% 25% 21% 27% 19%

Somewhat Favor 24 24 22 25 20 27

Somewhat Oppose 13 14 12 12 8 16

Strongly Oppose 38 36 39 38 43 34

DK/NA 3 1 2 3 2 3



14. Which do you think is most important for New Jersey? (A)Improving bus and train service, (B)Repairing roads and bridges, or (C)Building and widening highways

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


A)Improving bus and train service 27% 22% 40% 27% 29% 26%

B)Repairing roads and bridges 46 48 43 44 40 51

C)Building and widening highways 23 27 15 25 28 20

DK/NA 3 3 1 4 3 3



16. Which do you think is more important for New Jersey? (A)Improving bus and train service within New Jersey or (B)Improving bus and train service from New Jersey to places outside of New Jersey, such as New York City and Philadelphia.

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom
A)Improving bus and
train service within
New Jersey                58%     53%     63%     57%     63%     52%


B)Improving bus and train service from New Jersey to places outside of New Jersey, such as New York City and Philadelphia 33 38 29 34 27 39

DK/NA 9 9 8 9 9 9



17. How often do you go on buses or trains? Daily, a few days a week, a few days a month, a few days a year, or less often than that?
                                                                         
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Daily 7% 5% 7% 7% 8% 6%

A few days a week 4 1 7 3 3 4

A few days a month 12 11 14 14 13 11

A few days a year 26 25 22 31 30 22

Less often than that 51 59 50 44 45 56

DK/NA 1 - - 2 - 1



22. Have you ever been to an event at the Meadowlands?
                                                                         
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom 


Yes 73% 74% 65% 76% 79% 67%

No 27 26 35 24 21 33



23. If you were planning to go to an event at the Meadowlands, and there was a train stop there, do you think that you would be very likely to take the train to the Meadowlands, somewhat likely, not very likely, or not likely at all?
                                                                         
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Very likely 40% 41% 42% 39% 44% 37%

Somewhat likely 26 27 25 26 26 26

Not very likely 8 7 8 11 6 10

Not likely at all 24 24 23 22 23 24

DK/NA 1 1 3 1 1 2



24. Do you think the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey favors New York, favors New Jersey, treats them both the same, or haven't you heard enough about it?
                                                                         
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Favors New York 33% 28% 35% 35% 35% 30%

Favors New Jersey 2 1 2 2 2 1

Treats them both same 16 20 13 17 20 13

Haven't heard enough 47 48 48 43 39 54

DK/NA 2 2 2 3 3 2