The gubernatorial candidates’ picks for lieutenant governor have had little effect on the electorate, according to a Monmouth University/Gannett poll released this morning.
While the majority of voters know that the state will elect its first lieutenant governor this year, only 18% of likely voters can name one of them. In all, 67% of likely voters and 58% of registered voters have heard about the newly created lieutenant governor position.
Likewise, when read the names of the lieutenant governor candidates attached to the three major gubernatorial campaigns (including independent Chris Daggett), most respondents did not render an opinion. Among those who did, state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck), who is running with Gov. Corzine, was viewed positively by 16% of likely voters and negatively by 9%. Republican gubernatorial Chris Christie’s pick, Monmouth County Sheriff Kim Guadagno, was seen favorably by 10% and negatively by 2%, while Kean University Professor Frank Esposito – Daggett’s choice – was viewed positively by 8% and negatively by 2% .
“As we have seen in presidential elections and governors races in other states, the prime directive in picking a running mate is to do no harm. On this criterion, the major candidates have succeeded,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “While attention has been given to the fact that the party picks are both women, this does not translate into attracting female voters to either side.”
Eleven percent of registered voters said that Corzine’s selection of Weinberg made them more likely to vote for him, while 8% said it made them less likely (among just women, the results were virtually identical, with 10% saying the pick made them more likely to vote for Corzine and 7% saying less likely). Similarly, 9% said that Christie’s selection of Guadagno made them more likely to vote for him, while 5% said it made that less likely (7% of female voters said more likely, 4% less likely).
Only 4% of registered said that they considered the selection important enough that it could change their votes. Another 6% said the choice was “very important” but wouldn’t change their votes, while 41% said it was “somewhat important,” 20% “not too important,” and 27% “not at all important.”
Still, most voters think that having a lieutenant governor ready to go in case of a vacancy in the state’s top office is a good idea. 66% think it’s a good idea, while only 17% think it’s a bad idea.
The Monmouth University Polling Institute surveyed 723 New Jersey registered voters between July 29 and August 2. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7%.