Leasing talk takes toll on Corzine

Gov. Jon Corzine’s approval rating took a dip in the latest Quinnipiac University poll released this morning, and Republicans are saying it’s hard not to pinpoint the governor’s ideas on asset monetization as the chief reason.

According to the poll, New Jersey voters approve 48 – 39 % of the job Corzine is doing, compared to 51 – 36 % April 18. In this latest survey, Republicans disapprove of the Governor 60 – 28 %, while Democrats approve 64 – 22 % and independent voters approve 45 – 41 %.

"Support for leasing the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway (asset monetization) is slim, dropping to 31 percent in the latest poll while 54 percent disapprove," pollster Clay Richards added.

Republican State Committee Chairman Tom Wilson quickly made the link.

“The two things are tied together,” Wilson said. “People expected Jon Corzine to be up front and honest. He hasn’t been up front about his dealings with (union president) Carla Katz, and he hasn’t been up front and honest about leasing of state assets. People know they can’t sell their own house to themselves and walk away with cash. They know this is the latest in a long string of one-shot gimmicks.”

Wilson anticipates using the low numbers on leasing as fuel for GOP candidates in the legislative races come November. Not surprisingly State Democratic Chairman Joseph Cryan doesn’t think it will stick.

“The governor’s number are pretty strong, and a good source of strength for us,” said the state chairman. “We know the whole thing is difficult, but the reality is you put out an idea, you float it, you modify it. The problem with that is it allows opponents to frame the debate. But the reality is there’s no proposal out there, and it’s irresponsible of the Republicans to act as though there is.”

Wilson said Corzine’s vagueness on the issue has always been the problem.

“It’s hard to know what the plan is because he’s changed it from we’re going to sell (New Jersey's toll roads), to lease, to public securitization,” Wilson said. "People don’t understand because he never defined what it is. Every time he did the did the deal made less sense to people and it just shows that being a Wall Street banker is not always a positive.”

Dr. David Rebovich, director of Rider University’s Institute of New Jersey Politics, said the downtick in the governor’s poll numbers since last time is within the margin for error, but he did wonder about the asset monetization connection.

“The numbers are something to worry about in a state that leans Democrat,” said Rebovich. “He has to get out there. This poll suggests to me he needs to get out there and tell people what he intends to do.”

New Jerseyans are notoriously skeptical about their state leaders, Rebovich added. It doesn’t take much to make them more disgruntled than they are already. The longer Corzine delays making a clear cut case about toll roads in a forum set for that topic alone, the greater the likelihood his approval rating will dive further, Rebovich said. Leasing talk takes toll on Corzine