GOP poll shows soft support for governor; economy as number one state issues

Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway today released a statewide poll of 500 registered New Jersey voters showing Gov. Jon Corzine unable to reach 50 percent in head-to-head contests with each of three Republican candidates, even as a generic Democrat running statewide still beats a Republican candidate by eight points.

The survey also defines the economy and taxes as by far the most important issues for voters in this gubernatorial election year, suggesting a Republican candidate who can corner a message on those issues could make it a close race for the incumbent governor.

“Corzine begins 2009 with a respectable, albeit soft, base of support, as 42 percent of those surveyed say they would definitely (11 percent) or probably (31 percent) vote for him,” said Conway, president & CEO of the polling company™, inc./ WomanTrend.

“But those who have already decided to oppose him outnumber the solidly committed by 2-to-1 (22 percent-11 percent) and 50 percent of voters said their decision about Corzine depends on who his general election opponent is,” she added. “The ability of the GOP field to define themselves and raise doubts about Corzine’s leadership will help decide the outcome.”

To a Conway question about what the most important issues are in New Jersey, 39 percent of voter respondents said the economy, 21 percent said taxes, 13 percent said jobs, seven percent said government spending, five percent said corruption, four percent said education, four percent said healthcare, two percent income taxes, two percent immigration, one percent crime, and zero percent transportation/roads.

In her polling, Conway broke those issues down among different ethnic, gender and geographic groups. The economy, property taxes and jobs (in that order of importance) dominated the concerns of all: men, women, North Jersey residents, South Jersey residents, Central Jersey residents, whites and blacks.

In a white voter-black voter comparison, education snared 12 percent of black voters as the most important issue compared to two percent for whites. Among black voters, immigration (six percent) and crime (four percent) compared to two and one percent respectively among white voters. GOP poll shows soft support for governor; economy as number one state issues