Skip to main content
Monmouth University Polling Institute

New Jersey Divided on Gov. Christie

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cutting costs is good, but budget hurts many

Even though Governor Chris Christie now has his first budget under his belt and can claim a legislative victory on the state's top issue, Garden State residents remain divided on his job performance.  According to the latest Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Press Media Poll , the governor gets high marks for cutting costs, but the public is worried that these cuts may do harm.

Governor Christie's job rating currently stands at 44% approve to 44% disapprove among all state residents, and 45% to 43% among registered voters.  This marks a nominal, but not significant, increase from his April rating after he first announced his budget plan (41% to 44% among all adults and 42% to 44% among voters).  Christie receives plaudits from 80% of Republicans (up 15 points from April), 45% of independents (down 4 points), and 23% of Democrats (up 4 points).

The state legislature gets positive job ratings from 24% of the public (up from 20% in April) and negative ratings from 49% (down from 56%).

When asked to assign the governor a letter grade in five different areas, more than 4-in-10 residents give Christie either an A or B for controlling costs and cutting waste (43%) and bringing ethics and honesty back to state government (44%).   Only 1-in-4 give him poor grades of D or F in these two areas (27% and 26%, respectively).  A majority (52%) give the governor high grades of A or B for the level of effort he puts in, compared to 22% who give a poor grade of D or F.

The public is divided, though, on his performance in the area of property tax relief - 31% say he has earned an A or B compared to 38% who give him a D or F.  [It should be noted that the poll was conducted after the property tax cap deal was reached last week, but before the governor signed it into law on Tuesday.]

The public is more negative on what the governor has done to "improve schools" - with just 29% granting him an A or B compared to 44% who say he deserves a D or F in this area.

Compared to Jon Corzine at a similar point in his term, the current incumbent earns higher marks on cost-cutting - 43% compared to 26% who gave above average grades to Corzine in September 2006.  However, Christie earns lower grades for improving schools - 44% give Christie below average grades compared to 27% who did so for Corzine.

"The budget seems to be the main driver of public opinion about the governor right now.  Few New Jerseyans were thrilled with the cuts when they were first announced, but more have come to terms with the budget now that it is done," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Overall, 16% of New Jerseyans say they are satisfied with the final budget compared to 30% who are dissatisfied.  When the budget was first introduced, 22% were satisfied compared to 44% who were dissatisfied.  Both of those numbers declined after the final deal was signed, and now the majority of New Jerseyans (51%) say they "can live with" the budget deal.  These results are slightly more positive than public reaction after the final Corzine budget in June 2009, when just 6% were satisfied, 37% were dissatisfied, and 53% said they could live with it.

A major sticking point for the budget is that the public sees the cuts hurting almost every group of New Jerseyans.  Only the wealthiest escape unscathed - 42% of the public says that wealthy residents will be helped by this budget and only 13% feel they will be hurt.  Opinion is divided on the budget's impact on the business community - 34% say New Jersey businesses will be helped while 38% say businesses will be hurt.

Other groups of New Jerseyans may not be so lucky.  About half of the public believes that senior citizens (48%), property tax payers (51%), poor residents (52%), and middle class residents (54%) will feel pain from this budget, while only about 1-in-4 think that any of these groups will be helped.  Transit riders are also more likely to be hurt (53%) than helped (9%) by this budget.  The biggest victims of the state budget, though, are believed to be state workers (61% hurt to 13% helped) and teachers (71% hurt to 11% helped).

New Jersey Budget Impact

How it will impact…

Help

Hurt

Net impact

Wealthy residents

42%

13%

+29

Businesses

34%

38%

-4

Property tax payers

27%

51%

-24

Senior citizens

21%

48%

-27

Middle class residents

25%

54%

-29

Poor residents

22%

52%

-30

Transit riders

9%

53%

-44

State workers

13%

61%

-48

Teachers

11%

71%

-60

The budget's large cuts in state aid to local school districts and towns remain a concern for many New Jerseyans.  Half (50%) call these cuts unfair compared to 35% who say they are fair in light of the other programmatic cuts.  The number who call these cuts fair has increased from 28% who felt that way when the budget was first introduced, while the number who call them unfair has remained basically stable.

Furthermore, half (50%) of state residents expect that the quality of their public schools will get worse because of these cuts.  Another 41% think that the cuts will have no impact on local school quality and just 8% think local school quality will actually improve.

The poll also found that 83% of the public followed news about the final budget deal, including 30% who heard a lot about it.  This is down from the number who were paying attention when the governor first unveiled his plan four months ago (89% aware, including 45% "a lot").  However, attention to the budget process typically declines between introduction and final passage, and the current public awareness levels are still higher than normal.

The Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Press Media Poll  was conducted by telephone with 801 New Jersey adults from July 7 to 11, 2010.  This sample has a margin of error of ± 3.5 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute and originally published by the New Jersey Press Media newspaper group (Asbury Park Press, Courier-Post, Courier News, Daily Journal, Daily Record, and Home News Tribune).

 

DATA TABLES

The questions referred to in this release are as follows:

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

 

  1. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Chris Christie is doing as governor?
 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY ID

STATE
WORKER/
TEACHER
HOUSEHOLD

    Yes No Dem Ind Rep Yes No
  Approve   44% 45% 37% 23% 45% 80% 31% 48%
  Disapprove   44% 43% 51% 65% 41% 14% 57% 40%
  (VOL) Don’t know   12% 12% 12% 12% 15% 6% 12% 12%
  Unwtd N  

801

747 54 240 349 195 173

628

 

TREND:
All adults
July
2010
April
2010
Feb.
2010
Approve 44% 41% 33%
Disapprove 44% 44% 15%
(VOL) Don’t know 12% 15% 52%
Unwtd N

801

804

803

 

TREND:
Registered voters
July
2010
April
2010
Feb.
2010
Approve 45% 42% 31%
Disapprove 43% 44% 15%
(VOL) Don’t know 12% 13% 53%
Unwtd N

747

719

716

 

  1. Do you approve or disapprove of the job the state legislature is doing?
 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY ID

STATE
WORKER/
TEACHER
HOUSEHOLD

   

Yes

No Dem Ind Rep Yes

No

  Approve   24% 25% 15% 22% 21% 29% 25% 23%
  Disapprove   49% 49% 53% 50% 51% 47% 48% 50%
  (VOL) Don’t know   27% 26% 31% 27% 28% 24% 27% 27%
  Unwtd N  

801

747 54 240 349 195 173

628

 

TREND:
All Adults
July
2010
April
2010
Feb.
2010
July
2009
Feb.
2009
Sept.
2008
July
2008
April
2008
March
2008
Oct.
2007
Feb.
2007
Approve 24% 20% 26% 30% 25% 29% 27% 29% 28% 33% 35%
Disapprove 49% 56% 46% 47% 52% 47% 45% 53% 50% 41% 40%
(VOL) Don’t know 27% 24% 28% 23% 23% 23% 28% 18% 22% 26% 25%
Unwtd N

801

804 803 923 803 808 1004 803 805 801

801

 

TREND:
Registered Voters
July
2010
April
2010
Feb.
2010
July
2009
Feb.
2009
Sept.
2008
July
2008
April
2008
March
2008
Oct.
2007
Feb.
2007
Approve 25% 19% 24% 31% 23% 29% 27% 28% 25% 32% 34%
Disapprove 49% 57% 49% 48% 55% 50% 47% 55% 53% 43% 42%
(VOL) Don’t know 26% 24% 27% 22% 22% 21% 26% 17% 22% 25% 23%
Unwtd N

747

719 716 792 721 709 889 720 719 688

681

 

  1. I’d like you to grade the Christie administration on how it has handled specific issues over the past few months. For each one I read, please give a letter grade of A, B, C, D or F for failing.  What grade would you give the Christie administration for [READ ITEM]?

[ITEMS WERE ROTATED]

 

Controlling costs and cutting waste

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY ID

STATE
WORKER/
TEACHER
HOUSEHOLD

   

Yes

No Dem Ind Rep Yes

No

  A - Highest grade   21% 21% 21% 9% 22% 43% 14% 23%
  B   22% 21% 31% 17% 25% 26% 21% 23%
  C   24% 24% 19% 28% 23% 17% 28% 23%
  D   12% 12% 9% 17% 12% 3% 14% 11%
  F - Failing grade   15% 16% 14% 23% 11% 9% 20% 14%
  (VOL) Don’t know   6% 5% 7% 6% 7% 2% 3% 6%
  Unwtd N  

801

747 54 240 349 195 173

628

 

Providing property tax relief

 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY ID

STATE
WORKER/
TEACHER
HOUSEHOLD

   

Yes

No Dem Ind Rep Yes

No

  A - Highest grade   10% 11% 4% 4% 9% 24% 6% 11%
  B   21% 20% 24% 15% 24% 26% 24% 20%
  C   24% 25% 23% 28% 22% 21% 22% 25%
  D   15% 12% 36% 13% 19% 10% 18% 14%
  F - Failing grade   23% 25% 12% 32% 21% 14% 27% 23%
  (VOL) Don’t know   6% 7% 1% 8% 5% 5% 3% 7%
  Unwtd N  

801

747 54 240 349 195 173

628

 

Bringing ethics and honesty back to state government

 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY ID

STATE
WORKER/
TEACHER
HOUSEHOLD

   

Yes

No Dem Ind Rep Yes

No

  A - Highest grade   23% 25% 10% 9% 21% 51% 15% 25%
  B   21% 19% 34% 16% 25% 24% 20% 21%
  C   25% 25% 25% 31% 25% 13% 30% 24%
  D   10% 10% 13% 18% 9% 2% 11% 10%
  F - Failing grade   16% 16% 11% 20% 15% 8% 20% 14%
  (VOL) Don’t know   5% 5% 6% 7% 5% 2% 3% 5%
  Unwtd N  

801

747 54 240 349 195 173

628

 

Improving our schools

 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY ID

STATE
WORKER/
TEACHER
HOUSEHOLD

   

Yes

No Dem Ind Rep Yes

No

  A - Highest grade   12% 12% 8% 4% 11% 24% 9% 12%
  B   17% 17% 23% 10% 21% 25% 14% 18%
  C   22% 22% 19% 23% 22% 20% 14% 24%
  D   12% 11% 21% 14% 11% 7% 11% 12%
  F - Failing grade   32% 33% 28% 48% 26% 15% 48% 28%
  (VOL) Don’t know   5% 6% 1% 1% 8% 9% 4% 6%
  Unwtd N  

801

747 54 240 349 195 173

628

 

  1. What grade would you give the governor for the level of effort he puts into working for New Jersey?
 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY ID

STATE
WORKER/
TEACHER
HOUSEHOLD

   

Yes

No Dem Ind Rep Yes

No

  A - Highest grade   33% 33% 30% 14% 34% 65% 24% 35%
  B   19% 19% 23% 18% 20% 17% 20% 19%
  C   23% 23% 22% 33% 22% 10% 21% 24%
  D   10% 9% 14% 15% 10% 1% 16% 8%
  F - Failing grade   12% 12% 11% 17% 9% 6% 19% 10%
  (VOL) Don’t know   3% 4% 0% 3% 5% 1% 1% 4%
  Unwtd N  

801

747 54 240 349 195 173

628

 

  1. How much have you heard or read about the state budget that was passed last month – a lot, a little, or nothing at all?
 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY ID

STATE
WORKER/
TEACHER
HOUSEHOLD

   

Yes

No Dem Ind Rep Yes

No

  A lot   30% 32% 16% 26% 34% 33% 38% 28%
  A little   53% 52% 56% 56% 49% 54% 51% 53%
  Nothing at all   17% 16% 28% 19% 17% 13% 11% 19%
  Unwtd N  

801

747 54 240 349 195 173

628

 

TREND: July
2010
April
2010*
  A lot   30% 45%
  A little   53% 44%
  Nothing at all   17% 11%
  Unwtd N  

801

804

*  Question in April 2010 poll asked about  “Governor Christie’s state budget plan”

 

The following questions were asked only of those who heard at least a little about the budget: moe= ± 3.7%

 

  1. How would you describe your reaction to the budget – would you say you are satisfied with it, not particularly satisfied but you can live with it, or you are definitely dissatisfied with it?
 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY ID

STATE
WORKER/
TEACHER
HOUSEHOLD

   

Yes

No Dem Ind Rep Yes

No

  Satisfied   16% 16% 14% 7% 16% 34% 13% 17%
  Can live with it   51% 50% 61% 49% 55% 50% 50% 52%
  Dissatisfied   30% 30% 25% 44% 25% 13% 36% 28%
  (VOL) Don’t know   3% 3% 0% 1% 5% 4% 0% 4%
  Unwtd N  

706

665 41 204 314 174 159

547

 

TREND: July
2010
April
2010*
  Satisfied   16% 22%
  Can live with it   51% 32%
  Dissatisfied   30% 44%
  (VOL) Don’t know   3% 2%
  Unwtd N  

706

738

*  Question in April 2010 poll asked about  “reaction to the governor’s budget plan”

 

  1. I’d like to get your opinion on how the budget will affect different groups of New Jerseyans. Will this budget help, hurt, or have no impact on [READ ITEM]?  [ITEMS WERE ROTATED]

 

Middle class residents

 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY ID

STATE
WORKER/
TEACHER
HOUSEHOLD

 

Yes

No Dem Ind Rep Yes

No

  Help   25% 24% 34% 15% 23% 47% 19% 27%
  Hurt   54% 54% 50% 64% 54% 32% 63% 51%
  No impact   16% 16% 10% 17% 16% 15% 14% 16%
  (VOL) Both help and hurt   2% 2% 0% 1% 2% 1% 1% 2%
  (VOL) Don’t know   4% 4% 5% 2% 5% 5% 3% 4%
  Unwtd N  

706

665 41 204 314 174 159

547

 

Poor residents

 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY ID

STATE
WORKER/
TEACHER
HOUSEHOLD

   

Yes

No Dem Ind Rep Yes

No

  Help   22% 20% 34% 12% 20% 40% 15% 24%
  Hurt   52% 53% 40% 76% 44% 24% 62% 49%
  No impact   16% 18% 1% 5% 22% 27% 16% 17%
  (VOL) Both help and hurt   1% 1% 0% 0% 2% 0% 0% 1%
  (VOL) Don’t know   9% 7% 25% 6% 12% 9% 8% 9%
  Unwtd N  

706

665 41 204 314 174 159

547

 

Wealthy residents

 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY ID

STATE
WORKER/
TEACHER
HOUSEHOLD

   

Yes

No Dem Ind Rep Yes

No

  Help   42% 43% 39% 42% 44% 42% 51% 40%
  Hurt   13% 13% 17% 17% 10% 13% 9% 15%
  No impact   34% 35% 22% 31% 36% 34% 35% 34%
  (VOL) Both help and hurt   0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 1% 0% 0%
  (VOL) Don’t know   10% 9% 21% 9% 9% 9% 6% 11%
  Unwtd N  

706

665 41 204 314 174 159

547

 

Property tax payers

 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY ID

STATE
WORKER/
TEACHER
HOUSEHOLD

   

Yes

No Dem Ind Rep Yes

No

  Help   27% 26% 40% 15% 29% 50% 20% 30%
  Hurt   51% 52% 40% 65% 49% 30% 58% 49%
  No impact   15% 16% 5% 13% 16% 13% 18% 14%
  (VOL) Both help and hurt   1% 2% 0% 1% 2% 2% 0% 2%
  (VOL) Don’t know   6% 5% 15% 6% 5% 5% 3% 6%
  Unwtd N  

706

665 41 204 314 174 159

547

 

State workers

 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY ID

STATE
WORKER/
TEACHER
HOUSEHOLD

   

Yes

No Dem Ind Rep Yes

No

  Help   13% 13% 9% 11% 12% 16% 7% 14%
  Hurt   61% 61% 62% 66% 64% 52% 78% 56%
  No impact   17% 18% 14% 17% 17% 19% 10% 19%
  (VOL) Both help and hurt   1% 1% 0% 1% 1% 2% 1% 1%
  (VOL) Don’t know   8% 7% 15% 5% 7% 12% 4% 9%
  Unwtd N  

706

665 41 204 314 174 159

547

 

Teachers

 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY ID

STATE
WORKER/
TEACHER
HOUSEHOLD

   

Yes

No Dem Ind Rep Yes

No

  Help   11% 12% 5% 7% 9% 24% 6% 13%
  Hurt   71% 71% 70% 84% 68% 52% 79% 68%
  No impact   13% 13% 8% 7% 15% 18% 8% 14%
  (VOL) Both help and hurt   0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
  (VOL) Don’t know   5% 4% 18% 2% 7% 6% 6% 5%
  Unwtd N  

706

665 41 204 314 174 159

547

 

Transit riders

 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY ID

STATE
WORKER/
TEACHER
HOUSEHOLD

   

Yes

No Dem Ind Rep Yes

No

  Help   9% 8% 16% 10% 8% 13% 6% 10%
  Hurt   53% 53% 51% 60% 54% 40% 64% 50%
  No impact   17% 17% 9% 15% 16% 15% 13% 18%
  (VOL) Both help and hurt   0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 1% 0% 0%
  (VOL) Don’t know   21% 21% 24% 16% 22% 31% 18% 22%
  Unwtd N  

706

665 41 204 314 174 159

547

 

Senior citizens

 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY ID

STATE
WORKER/
TEACHER
HOUSEHOLD

   

Yes

No Dem Ind Rep Yes

No

  Help   21% 21% 26% 9% 22% 39% 20% 22%
  Hurt   48% 49% 36% 60% 48% 29% 57% 45%
  No impact   18% 19% 8% 20% 16% 20% 11% 20%
  (VOL) Both help and hurt   1% 1% 1% 0% 2% 0% 0% 1%
  (VOL) Don’t know   12% 10% 28% 12% 12% 11% 11% 12%
  Unwtd N  

706

665 41 204 314 174 159

547

 

Businesses

 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY ID

STATE
WORKER/
TEACHER
HOUSEHOLD

   

Yes

No Dem Ind Rep Yes

No

  Help   34% 33% 39% 23% 36% 50% 25% 36%
  Hurt   38% 38% 36% 48% 37% 24% 48% 34%
  No impact   17% 17% 15% 16% 14% 15% 16% 17%
  (VOL) Both help and hurt   2% 3% 0% 2% 3% 2% 0% 3%
  (VOL) Don’t know   9% 9% 10% 11% 9% 8% 10% 9%
  Unwtd N  

706

665 41 204 314 174 159

547

 

  1. This budget cuts aid to local school districts and towns. Compared to how much other programs and spending have been reduced in the state budget, do you think that the amount local aid has been cut is basically fair or unfair, or don’t you have an opinion?
 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY ID

STATE
WORKER/
TEACHER
HOUSEHOLD

   

Yes

No Dem Ind Rep Yes

No

  Fair   35% 35% 40% 20% 37% 64% 24% 39%
  Unfair   50% 51% 47% 68% 46% 26% 57% 48%
  No opinion   14% 14% 12% 12% 17% 10% 19% 13%
  Unwtd N  

706

665 41 204 314 174 159

547

 

TREND: July
2010
April
2010
  Fair   35% 28%
  Unfair   50% 52%
  No opinion   14% 20%
  Unwtd N  

706

738

 

  1. Do you think the quality of public schools will get better, get worse or stay about the same because of this budget?
 

TOTAL

REGISTERED
VOTER
PARTY ID

STATE
WORKER/
TEACHER
HOUSEHOLD

   

Yes

No Dem Ind Rep Yes

No

  Better   8% 8% 5% 2% 9% 17% 5% 9%
  Worse   50% 49% 65% 68% 48% 22% 67% 46%
  Stay about the same   41% 42% 30% 30% 42% 60% 28% 44%
  (VOL) Don’t know   1% 1% 0% 0% 1% 0% 0% 1%
  Unwtd N  

706

665 41 204 314 174 159 547

 

The Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Press Media Poll  was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute on July 7-11, 2010 with a statewide random sample of 801 adult residents.  Sampling and data collection services were provided by Braun Research, Inc.  For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.  Sampling error increases as the sample size decreases, so statements based on various population subgroups, such as separate figures reported by gender or party identification, are subject to more error than are statements based on the total sample.  In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

POLL DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)

38% Dem 48% Male 28% 18-34

67% White

40% Ind 52% Female 41% 35-54

13% Black

22% Rep   31% 55+

12% Hispanic

     

  8% Asian/Other

 

It is the Monmouth University Polling Institute's policy to conduct surveys of all adult New Jersey residents, including voters and non-voters, on issues that affect the state.  Specific voter surveys are conducted when appropriate during election cycles.

 

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups.

Download this Poll Report with all tables

Get Poll Reports in Your Inbox

If you would like to join our mailing list and receive the latest poll results the day they are released, please enter your contact information in the fields below.

Would you like to submit a question or comment?

Back

Any Questions?

Thank You!

Your email has been submitted to our mailing list. You will receive an email to receive future polls the day they are released.

- Monmouth University Polling Institute