Lonegan says poll holds a message for Corzine

Conservative activist Steve Lonegan isn’t surprised that Gov. Corzine’s fiscal restructuring plan is so unpopular.

A Quinnipiac poll released today puts the public’s opposition to the plan at 73%.

The more Corzine has tried to promote his fiscal restructuring plan, Lonegan said, the more distasteful the public finds it. As he’s traveled across the state to protest it, Lonegan has found mostly sympathetic reactions.

“The more he speaks, the worse his numbers get,” said Lonegan. “But what this really says is that people don’t want the Governor to hold spending flat. They want real cuts, not tinkering around the edges. Real tax relief – that’s the message. I don’t know if Corzine’s going to get the message.”

Lonegan said that he deserves some, but not all, credit for the public’s perception of the Corzine’s plan.

Corzine last week postponed the remaining town hall meetings to promote his plan until after Tuesday’s budget address.

Former Republican state Sen. Bill Gormley, who Corzine has enlisted to help sell his plan, said that he’s not surprised about the public’s negative reaction to it so far. After Corzine proposes his budget cuts, he said, the public may be more open to the issue.

“I’m not surprised that they act negatively to this, but people are going to become more and more conversant,” he said. “The people are going to know more about his plan and budget cuts than they ever have before.”

Gormley said that Corzine’s upside down, 37%-52% approval rating was nothing compared to former Gov. Jim Florio’s after he proposed tax hikes in 1990.

“At least he didn’t do toilet paper,” said Gormley, referring to Florio’s infamous proposed sales tax on the product. Lonegan says poll holds a message for Corzine