New Jersey residents may be used to reading headlines about corrupt public officials on a near-daily basis, but it hasn’t made them overwhelmingly cynical about the idea of holding public office, according to a Monmouth University poll released yesterday.
Fifty-five percent of New Jerseyans think that getting involved in politics and government is “honorable,” compared to only 32% who think it’s a “dirty business.”
“Although New Jersey has developed a reputation for ethically-challenged government, most residents feel it doesn’t have to be that way,” said pollster Patrick Murray.
Sixty-five percent of residents felt it was either very or somewhat important to be personally active in community organizations and neighborhood groups. Fifteen percent said they would be very interested in serving on a local board or commission, while 26% said they have some interest. A majority, however, had either little interest or no interest at all in doing so.
The poll should not be read as residents attitudes about current office-holders, however. A Monmouth poll last year found that respondents thougth about 60% of legislators were not serving interests other than the public's. This week's poll, rather, shows that residents feel it doesn't have to be that way.
“Nobody in public office should walk away from that as if it’s vindication. It’s more of a sense of hope than what’s going on right now," said Murray.
The Institute surveyed 808 adults between September 11th and 14th, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5%.