Poll: Corzine's approval drops again

June 25, 2008 12:54:48 PM PDT
New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine's approval rating has slipped again, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

The Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll found 40 percent approve of the governor's job performance, with 41 percent disapproving. That's down from a 44 percent approval in April and 48 percent in January. The FDU findings are similar to those of other recent polls.

The decline comes after Corzine pushed a cost-cutting state budget that was approved Monday by state legislators.

Peter Woolley, the poll director and a political scientist, said the real test could come when the budget starts directly affecting taxpayers. It takes effect July 1.

"The twists and turns of the budget process are under the radar of most voters," Woolley said. "In the end, it's the taxes they pay, the services they receive and the value of their homes that voters care about."

Corzine, speaking Tuesday on WCBS radio in New York, noted the poll was still better than other recent surveys. A June 11 Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday found 52 percent of New Jersey voters disapproving of Corzine's performance, with 38 percent approving.

Corzine said he wasn't surprised because he's been tackling topics such as budget cuts and cutting state debt and funding transportation through proposed toll increases.

"None of those are pleasant topics to be raising," Corzine said. "They have to be taken on straightforwardly or I'm not doing my job."

The first-term Democratic governor added, "I think the most important thing to do is do a good job and let people assess when they go to the polls in 2009 whether they think you've done the things that have to be done to make New Jersey a better place to live."

Corzine in the coming weeks is expected to sign legislation authorizing $3.9 billion for state Supreme Court-ordered school construction. He's also expected to sign a bill redoing state laws on court-ordered affordable housing requirements for each municipality.

But the poll found New Jersey voters know little about how major decisions by the Supreme Court affect state spending and quality of life.

Fifty-one percent of those responding said they had not heard about the court-ordered housing requirements and 23 percent said they had heard "just a little." Forty-one percent said they've heard nothing and 32 percent "just a little" about the state Council on Affordable Housing, which implements affordable housing requirements.

"Every town in the state is affected, so it is surprising to find so many voters who know so little about it," Woolley said.

Meanwhile, 57 percent said they've never heard of the court's school funding decisions, with 19 percent having heard "just a little."

"The courts are every bit as important in shaping public policy as the Legislature and governor," Woolley said. "Yet voters pay even less attention to the courts than they do to the Legislature and governor."

The telephone poll of 608 registered voters statewide was conducted from June 17 through June 22 and has a sampling error


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