September 16, 1997 - Whitman Holds 12-Point Lead And 55-Percent Approval, But Voters Like McGreevey On Auto Insurance, Quinnipiac College Poll Finds
While New Jersey voters say Democratic challenger James McGreevey would do a better job than Republican incumbent Christine Todd Whitman handling auto insurance -- by a 42 - 33 percent margin -- Gov. Whitman has a 49 - 37 percent overall lead in the New Jersey gubernatorial race, according to a Quinnipiac College Poll released today.

In a July 29 poll by the independent Quinnipiac College, Whitman led 46 - 39 percent.

Gov. Whitman's approval stands at 55 - 41 percent, similar to results in July 29, June 24 and April 10 polls, but down from 62 - 32 percent in a February poll.

"The numbers wiggle up and down, but the slight movement to McGreevey that appeared in our July poll seems to have dwindled. Gov. Whitman has moved back to a solid double-digit lead, with momentum on her side. It's a very comfortable lead, but it ain't over yet," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac College Polling Institute.

When asked what issues will most decide how they vote, with voters free to give any answers, 46 percent say auto insurance; 43 percent say taxes and 23 percent say education.

In another measure of how voters view the candidates and auto insurance, 20 percent say the situation will get better if Whitman is reelected, while 16 percent say it will get worse and 59 percent say it will stay the same.

If McGreevey is elected, the auto insurance situation will get better, according to 27 percent, while 8 percent say it will get worse and 50 percent say it will stay the same.

"McGreevey is a victim of the long-time New Jersey political problem, lack of statewide recognition. As the leading state official, the governor attracts attention. McGreevey -- the Democratic nominee and the major-party alternative to the Republican Governor, is still an unknown quantity to the majority of state voters," Carroll said.

Whitman's favorability rating is 44 - 28 percent, with 25 percent mixed and 3 percent who haven't heard enough to form an opinion. In July, her favorability was 38 - 31 percent.

McGreevey's favorability is 17 - 10 percent, with 16 percent mixed and 56 percent who haven't heard enough to form an opinion, an improvement from July when 70 percent did not know enough to form an opinion.

While New Jersey voters say McGreevey would do a better job on auto insurance, they see Whitman doing a better job than the challenger on other key issues: 50 - 25 percent handling crime; 49 - 31 percent handling education: 44 - 34 percent handling environment; 48 - 36 percent handling taxes; 44 - 33 percent handling unemployment.

"That only-in-New jersey issue, auto insurance, is the one bright spot that Quinnipiac College pollsters find for McGreevey. It's the lone area where voters think he'd do a better job than Whitman," Carroll said.

Fifteen percent of voters trust Whitman to do what is right almost always, while 38 percent trust her most of the time, 34 percent trust her some of the time and 11 percent trust her almost never.

Four percent trust McGreevey to do what is right almost always, while 15 percent trust him most of the time, 30 percent trust him some of the time and 8 percent trust him almost never -- with 43 percent undecided.

Quinnipiac College surveyed 865 New Jersey residents who say they are registered voters. The poll was conducted September 8 -13, with a margin of error of +/- 3.3 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.
Additional data:
1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Christine Whitman is handling her job as Governor of New Jersey?

                                                                        Jul 29
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     1997


Approve 55% 74% 37% 55% 58% 53% 51%

Disapprove 41 23 60 41 39 43 43

DK/NA 3 2 3 4 4 3 5



1A. Is that strongly or somewhat?
                                                                        Jul 29
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     1997


Approve strongly 22% 38% 7% 20% 23% 21% 21%

Approve smwht 34 37 29 35 35 33 30

Disapprove smwht 17 13 24 15 15 19 15

Disapprove strongly 24 10 37 25 24 24 28

DK/NA 3 2 3 4 4 3 5



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

                                                                        Jul 29
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     1997


Approve 53% 46% 66% 53% 54% 52% 50%

Disapprove 26 35 17 24 29 23 25

DK/NA 22 19 17 23 17 25 26



2A. Is that strongly or somewhat?

                                                                        Jul 29
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     1997


Approve strongly 16% 10% 27% 15% 18% 15% 16%

Approve smwht 36 35 39 38 36 37 34

Disapprove smwht 13 16 12 13 14 13 13

Disapprove strongly 12 19 5 10 15 10 12

DK/NA 22 19 17 23 17 25 26



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

                                                                        Jul 29
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     1997


Approve 43% 32% 58% 42% 43% 42% 40%

Disapprove 25 37 8 26 29 22 28

DK/NA 32 30 33 33 28 36 32



3a. Is that strongly or somewhat?

                                                                        Jul 29
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     1997


Approve strongly 11% 7% 18% 12% 12% 10% 11%

Approve smwht 31 26 40 30 31 32 29

Disapprove smwht 10 15 4 9 10 10 11

Disapprove strongly 15 22 4 16 19 11 18

DK/NA 32 30 33 33 28 36 32



4. How much attention have you been paying to the campaign for Governor? A lot, some, only a little, or none at all?

                                                                        Jul 29
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     1997


A lot 17% 19% 17% 15% 21% 14% 18%

Some 45 42 44 49 45 45 37

Only a little 27 32 28 25 26 29 32

None at all 10 7 11 12 8 12 12

DK/NA - - - - - - 1



5. Is your opinion of State Senator James McGreevey favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                                                                        Jul 29
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     1997


Favorable 17% 6% 26% 18% 19% 15% 13%

Unfavorable 10 16 5 9 11 9 7

Mixed 16 16 15 16 15 17 10

Haven't heard enough 56 60 54 56 54 58 70

REFUSED - 1 - - 1 - 1



6. Is your opinion of Governor Christine Whitman favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about her?

                                                                        Jul 29
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     1997


Favorable 44% 67% 22% 44% 49% 40% 38%

Unfavorable 28 10 43 30 28 28 31

Mixed 25 21 33 24 21 29 27

Haven't heard enough 3 2 3 2 3 3 4

REFUSED - - - - - - 1



7. If the 1997 election for Governor were being held today and the candidates were Christine Whitman the Republican, and James McGreevey the Democrat, for whom would you vote?

                                                                        Jul 29
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     1997


Whitman/Republican 49% 79% 21% 47% 52% 47% 46%

McGreevey/Democrat 37 13 69 37 34 39 39

SOMEONE ELSE 4 2 2 4 5 3 3

WOULDN'T VOTE 3 2 1 4 2 3 3

DK/NA 7 4 6 8 6 8 10



9. There are eight other people on the ballot in New Jersey this year. Madelyn Hoffman for the Green Party, Robert Miller for the Socialist Workers Party, Lincoln Norton for the Natural Law Party, Gregory Pason for the Socialist Party USA, Michael Perrone an Independent-Progressive, Richard Pezzullo for the NJ Conservative Party, Nuncie Ripa an Independent and Murray Sabrin for the Libertarian Party. If the election were being held today, would you vote for Christine Whitman the Republican, James McGreevey the Democrat, or one of the other people on the ballot this year? IF "OTHER" ASK: Which one?
                                                                        
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     


Whitman 49% 78% 22% 45% 52% 47%

McGreevey 35 12 65 34 32 37

Madelyn Hoffman 1 - - 2 1 1

Robert Miller 1 - 1 - 1 -

Lincoln Norton - - - - 1 -

Gregory Pason 1 - - 1 1 1

Michael Perrone 1 - 1 1 1 1

Richard Pezzullo 1 1 - 1 1 1

Nuncie Ripa - - - 1 - 1

Murray Sabrin 2 1 - 4 4 1

SOMEONE ELSE 2 1 2 3 2 3

WOULDN'T VOTE 1 2 - 1 1 1

DK/NA 6 3 6 8 6 7



9. Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the election?

                         Whitman McGreevey
                         Voter   Voter


Yes made up 63% 55%

No might change 36 44

DK/NA 2 1



9A. Would you describe your support for Christine Whitman/James McGreevey as strongly favoring her/him, or do you like her/him but with reservations, or do you support her/him because you dislike James McGreevey/Christine Whitman?

                          Whitman McGreevey
                          Voter   Voter


Strongly favor 48% 20%

Like with reservations 48 39

Dislike McGreevey/ 2 38 Whitman

DK/NA 1 3



12. What issues matter most in deciding how you will vote for Governor? (Column percentages add up to more than 100% since up to 3 responses were accepted)

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     


CRIME/VIOLENCE 5% 4% 2% 5% 5% 4% DRUGS 1 - 1 1 1 1 GUNS/GUN CONTROL - - 1 - 1 - ECONOMY 5 9 4 3 6 4 UNEMPLOYMENT/JOBS 5 2 9 5 7 4 COST OF LIVING - - - - 1 - TAXES 25 26 22 27 26 24 STATE INCOME TAX 3 4 2 1 3 2 LOCAL PROPERTY TAX 15 16 16 15 15 15 BUDGET DEFICIT/ BALANCED BUDGET/ BUDGET 4 3 5 6 6 3 GOVERNMENT SPENDING (TOO MUCH) 1 1 - 1 1 1 POVERTY/HOMELESSNESS 1 - 2 1 1 1 HOUSING COSTS/ AVAILABILITY 1 - - 1 1 1 WELFARE 3 2 2 3 2 3 WORKFARE - - - - 1 - MIDDLE/WORKING CLASS REF. 1 - 1 - 1 1 HONESTY/INTEGRITY 3 4 2 3 5 2 CHILDREN'S ISSUES 1 1 2 - - 2 HEALTHCARE/COSTS/ INSURANCE 3 - 3 4 1 4 MEDICARE - - - 1 - - ABORTION 2 5 - 2 3 2 ELDERLY 2 1 3 1 1 2 EDUCATION 20 18 23 20 13 25 COLLEGE TUITION 1 - 1 1 1 1 FUNDING PUBLIC SHOOLS 2 2 3 1 1 3 ENVIRONMENT/ POLLUTION 8 7 7 10 9 8 RACISM/RACE RELATIONS - - 1 - 1 - LACK OF MASS TRANSIT/PUBLIC TRANS - - - 1 - - TRAFFIC - - - 1 1 - AUTO INSURANCE 46 43 49 48 44 48 ROADS 1 1 - 1 1 1 POLITICIANS/ GOVERNMENT 2 2 - 2 3 - PARTY 1 2 1 1 2 1 POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY - 1 - 1 1 - RECORD IN OFFICE 2 1 2 2 2 2 LEADERSHIP QUALITIES 1 - - 1 1 1 KEEP WHITMAN IN OFFICE - 1 - - 1 - REMOVE WHITMAN FROM OFFICE 1 - - 1 1 - BOND ISSUE/PENSION FUND 1 - 3 1 1 1 OTHER 14 14 13 15 15 14 DK/NA 8 8 9 7 7 8



13. What single issue matters most in deciding how you will vote for Governor?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom
 
CRIME/VIOLENCE             1       -       -       1       -       1
DRUGS                      -       -       1       -       -       1
GUNS/GUN CONTROL           -       -       -       -       1       -
ECONOMY                    3       6       -       2       4       2
UNEMPLOYMENT/JOBS          3       1       3       3       4       2
TAXES                     15      19       9      15      15      14
STATE INCOME TAX           -       1       -       1       1       -
LOCAL PROPERTY TAX         5       5       6       6       6       5
BUDGET DEFICIT/
BALANCED BUDGET/
BUDGET                     2       3       1       3       2       2
WELFARE                    1       -       1       2       -       2
MIDDLE/WORKING CLASS
REF.                       -       -       1       1       1       -
HONESTY/INTEGRITY          3       2       2       4       3       2
CHILDREN'S ISSUES          -       -       2       -       -       1
HEALTHCARE/COSTS/
INSURANCE                  1       -       -       1       1       -
ABORTION                   2       3       1       1       2       1
ELDERLY                    -       -       -       1       1       -
EDUCATION                  9       5      14       9       6      12
COLLEGE TUITION            -       -       1       -       1       -
FUNDING PUBLIC
SHOOLS                     -       -       -       1       -       1
ENVIRONMENT/
POLLUTION                  2       2       1       2       2       2
AUTO INSURANCE            20      21      25      19      20      21
POLITICIANS/
GOVERNMENT                 -       -       -       1       1       -
PARTY                      1       2       2       -       1       1
POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY       1       2       -       1       -       1
RECORD IN OFFICE           2       2       2       3       2       3
REMOVE WHITMAN FROM
OFFICE                     -       -       -       1       1       -
BOND ISSUE/PENSION
FUND                       1       -       1       -       -       1
OTHER                      7       6       5       7       7       6
DK/NA                     17      19      14      18      17      17




14. How often do you feel you can trust Christine Whitman to do what is right? Would you say almost always, most of the time, only some of the time, or almost never?
                                                                        
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     


Almost always 15% 28% 6% 13% 15% 15%

Most of the time 38 49 28 37 39 37

Only some time 34 19 45 37 33 35

Almost never 11 4 18 11 11 12

DK/NA 2 1 3 2 2 2



15. How often do you feel you can trust James McGreevey to do what is right? Would you say almost always, most of the time, only some of the time, or almost never?
                                                                        
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     


Almost always 4% 2% 7% 3% 5% 3%

Most of the time 15 9 27 13 15 15

Only some time 30 31 27 32 30 29

Almost never 8 13 4 6 10 6

DK/NA 43 44 35 47 40 46



16. How well do you think Christine Whitman understands the needs and problems of the middle class? Very well, fairly well, not very well, or not well at all?
                                                                        
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     


Very well 16% 23% 8% 16% 16% 15%

Fairly well 46 62 35 43 49 44

Not very well 20 9 30 19 18 21

Not well at all 17 5 25 21 16 18

DK/NA 1 - 2 1 1 1



17. How well do you think James McGreevey understands the needs and problems of the middle class? Very well, fairly well, not very well, or not well at all?
                                                                        
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     
  
Very well                 11%      8%     16%     11%     14%      9%


Fairly well 44 40 50 45 43 44

Not very well 10 16 6 8 11 9

Not well at all 4 5 1 3 6 2

DK/NA 32 32 27 33 27 35



18. If James McGreevey is elected governor do you think the auto insurance situation in New Jersey will get better, get worse, or stay about the same?

                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     


Get better 27% 16% 47% 24% 26% 27%

Get worse 8 12 3 9 11 6

Stay the same 50 59 36 53 51 50

DK/NA 15 14 15 15 12 17



19. If Christine Whitman is re-elected governor do you think the auto insurance situation in New Jersey will get better, get worse, or stay about the same?
                                                                        
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     
   
Get better                20%     30%     12%     18%     20%     20%


Get worse 16 11 20 16 15 17

Stay the same 59 56 62 61 62 57

DK/NA 5 3 5 5 3 6



20. Who do you think would do a better job handling auto insurance, Christine Whitman or James McGreevey?
                                                                     
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom
 
Whitman                   33%     52%     14%     31%     35%     32%


McGreevey 42 26 63 42 40 43

SAME/NO DIFFERENCE (VOL) 13 14 11 13 15 11

DK/NA 12 9 12 13 10 14



21. Who do you think would do a better job handling education, Christine Whitman or James McGreevey?
                                                                        
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     


Whitman 49% 72% 30% 46% 51% 48%

McGreevey 31 13 52 33 31 31

SAME/NO DIFFERENCE (VOL) 5 4 1 7 6 4

DK/NA 14 11 16 14 11 16



22. Who do you think would do a better job handling taxes, Christine Whitman or James McGreevey?
                                                                     
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Whitman 48% 74% 23% 45% 55% 42%

McGreevey 36 14 60 38 31 39

SAME/NO DIFFERENCE (VOL) 6 5 3 6 6 6

DK/NA 11 8 14 10 8 14



23. Who do you think would do a better job handling crime, Christine Whitman or James McGreevey?
                                                                     
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Whitman 50% 67% 35% 47% 53% 47%

McGreevey 25 12 41 24 26 24

SAME/NO DIFFERENCE (VOL) 8 6 5 10 8 8

DK/NA 17 14 18 18 13 21



24. Who do you think would do a better job handling unemployment, Christine Whitman or James McGreevey?
                                                                        
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom   
 
Whitman                   44%     63%     24%     44%     51%     39%


McGreevey 33 14 55 35 30 36

SAME/NO DIFFERENCE (VOL) 6 7 3 7 7 5

DK/NA 16 15 18 15 11 20



25. Who do you think would do a better job handling the environment, Christine Whitman or James McGreevey?
                                                                     
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Whitman 44% 60% 28% 43% 44% 44%

McGreevey 34 20 50 35 36 32

SAME/NO DIFFERENCE (VOL) 6 6 5 7 7 6

DK/NA 16 14 17 15 12 18



26. What do you think Christine Whitman is spending more time doing in her campaign - explaining what she would do if re-elected Governor or attacking James McGreevey?
                                                                        
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     
   
Explaining                63%     66%     57%     65%     64%     63%


Attacking 20 18 28 17 23 18

DK/NA 17 16 15 19 13 19



27. What do you think James McGreevey is spending more time doing in his campaign - explaining what he would do if elected Governor or attacking Christine Whitman?
                                                                       
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     


Explaining 41% 30% 47% 45% 41% 41%

Attacking 35 46 30 30 40 31

DK/NA 24 24 23 25 19 28



28. 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?

                                                                        Jun 25
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     1997


Very satisfied 9% 19% 2% 7% 10% 8% 9%

Smwht satisfied 48 53 42 49 52 45 50

Smwht dissatisfied 27 20 33 29 25 30 28

Very dissatisfied 15 8 22 14 14 16 13

DK/NA - - - - - 1 1



29. Compared to 4 years ago, do you think things in New Jersey are better, worse, or about the same?

                                                                        Jun 25
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     1997


Better 42% 62% 23% 40% 48% 37% 38%

Worse 19 11 31 18 16 21 21

About the same 37 25 44 41 36 38 37

DK/NA 2 3 3 1 1 3 4