Public support for Corzine remains luke-warm; Codey still most popular elected official

New Jersey voters’ feelings about Gov. Jon Corzine remain tepid, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University Public Mind poll released today.

Survey respondents are split on whether they approve of Governor Corzine’s performance, with 41% approving and 43% disapproving. 16% had mixed feelings or didn’t know.

31% of New Jersey voters think Gov. Corzine is doing an “excellent” or “good job,” while 41% rate his performance as “only fair.” 25% think that he’s done a “poor” job in office. Those numbers are basically the same as they were in an FDU poll conducted in June.

But the public’s feelings about the direction the state is headed in are the lowest of the Governor’s term. 23% think the state is heading in the “right direction,” while 67% feel it’s “off on the wrong track.” Corzine apparently is not directly tied in with those feelings.

“The governor is not taking as big a hit as most governors would with such widespread pessimism about the direction of the state,” said FDU pollster and political science professor Peter Woolley. “His ratings declined steeply after his toll plan was proposed and have not recovered.”

The survey also asked about name recognition and popularity of several other high profile New Jersey Democrats.

73% of voters have heard of Senate President and former Acting Gov. Dick Codey. By a four-to-one ratio, voters view him favorably. A slight majority of respondents – 56%– have heard of Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who also has a four-to-one favorability rating. Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo and U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson), both of whom have expressed interest in running for Governor if Corzine decides not to seek another term, are unknown to most voters, however.

The Republicans’ rising stars are more anonymous. U.S. Attorney Chris Christie tops the list, with 40% name recognition and an overwhelmingly favorable rating. Conservative activist Steve Lonegan comes in second highest, but he’s unknown by 76% of respondents. State Senators Jennifer Beck (R-Red Bank) and Joe Kyrillos (R-Middletown) are unknown by 84% and 85% of respondents, respectively.

“In New Jersey, the out-party’s candidate can usually achieve name recognition only by running and losing a statewide race,” said Woolley.

  Public support for Corzine remains luke-warm; Codey still most popular elected official