By a five-to-four margin (49%-38%), likely voters say New Jersey is on the wrong track, but that’s not their opinion of Governor Jon Corzine.
According to the latest survey by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind, 54% of voters say they approve of the job Corzine is doing as governor while 25% disapprove, a 2:1 ratio in his favor that has been fairly steady throughout his two years as governor.
On the other hand, Carla Katz, a union leader and former companion of the governor who has been much in the news lately, has a low profile with much of the public. Three of five likely voters (61%) say they have not heard of her. Of those who say they have heard of her, few say they have a favorable opinion, but just as many say they have no opinion as say they have a negative one (15%-18%). "At this point there is little evidence that Carla Katz is hurting the governor’s support," said Peter Woolley, a political scientist and director of the poll.
Meanwhile, a majority (54%) of New Jersey voters say they have a favorable impression of the governor, against 31% who say their impression of him is unfavorable, a 5 to 3 advantage for the governor.
That compares well to other statewide officials. U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg maintains a net plus of 48% to 27% favorable to unfavorable opinion, while Sen. Bob Menendez doesn’t quite break even with 30% favorable and 35% unfavorable. "The governor’s standing with voters two years into his term and facing a mid-term election is good," said Woolley. "He should be getting a lot of invitations to campaign rallies."
Another way to assess the governor’s standing is by using a job performance scale ranging from excellent to poor: 44% rate the job the governor is doing as "excellent" or "good" while 39% mark him as "only fair" and 15% give him marks of poor–little changed from measurements taken throughout the year. Just 30% of Republicans rate the governor’s job performance as "poor," while 44% say "only fair" and 21% rate his performance as "good."
Asked whether they’re inclined to vote for Democrats or Republicans in the upcoming legislative elections, voters stick closely to their party affiliation. More than four of five Republicans and Republican leaning voters say they intend to vote for Republican candidates; more than four of five Democrats and Democratic leaning voters say they intend to vote for Democratic candidates in their district. "As candidates head full steam into the campaign, it’s the Democrats who have the statewide edge because their voters are not planning to cross party lines and there are simply more of them," added Woolley.
Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind poll of 701 likely voters statewide was conducted from September 17 through September 23 and has a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.