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Monmouth University Polling Institute

Little Home State Interest in McGreevey Confession

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Few want to read former governor’s autobiography

It will be here soon.  The book all New Jersey has been waiting for - or have they?  Two years ago this week, former Governor James E. McGreevey announced that he would be stepping down from office because of allegations surrounding a gay relationship and potential issues with state jobs he may have found for that person.  When he stated "My truth is that I am a gay American," not only New Jersey, but the entire country and the world were watching.

Oh, how things change in two years.  With his memoir The Confession  set to be released this September, the reaction from New Jersey is decidedly less than breathless with anticipation.  According to a statewide poll conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute, 8-in-10 (79%) of McGreevey's former constituents say they have absolutely no interest in reading his autobiography.  And only 1-in-20 (5%) say they are looking forward to his memoir with a lot of interest.  Another 14% take a waitand-see attitude, registering just a little interest at this point.

"Few New Jerseyans have any interest in hearing the former governor's confession," remarked Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

It seems that any potential sales for McGreevey's memoirs will most likely come from his fellow partisans.  About 1-in-4 (26%) New Jersey Democrats have at least a little interest in reading his book, compared to only 12-13% of Republicans and independents.  

While James McGreevey's short lived administration was dogged by allegations of corruption, political appointments and references to Machiavelli, it is clear that he will go down in the state's memory almost exclusively as our first openly -   albeit belatedly - gay governor.  When asked to recall what really prompted McGreevey to resign two years ago, more than 3-in-4 residents (77%) say his exit was primarily based on his    personal sexuality.  Only 9% say his hasty resignation had to do with public behavior related to ethics or allegations of corruption.  Another 13% cannot recall why he resigned.  

Those who are interested in The Confession  can pre-order    it at Amazon.com, where they can buy both McGreevey's book and the Brokeback Mountain  DVD for $36.97 (with free shipping, no less).

This poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute by telephone with 803 New Jersey adults from April 17 to 20, 2006.  This sample has a margin of error of ±  3.5 percent.  These poll results were released in conjunction with a feature on the former governor in the August 2006 issue of New Jersey Monthly magazine .

The questions referred to in this release are as follows:  

1.               This August marks the second anniversary of former Governor Jim McGreevey's announcement that he would resign from office. Do you remember why he resigned?

2.               He is currently writing a book about his life that will come out in September. Do you have any interest in reading this book, or not? [Is that a lot or just a little?]

Results for this poll are based on telephone interviews conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute on April 17-20, 2006 with a statewide random sample of 803 adult residents.  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.

 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 which 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

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