Gov. Jon Corzine will leave office with an upside-down 33%-58% approval rating, and Gov.-elect Christopher Christie starts with a 45%-23% approval rating, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind™ poll released this morning.
Corzine’s favorables when he entered office four years ago were at 43%-31%, an FDU poll reported days before he took office.
“Other governors in the country thinking about leasing highways and bridges will be looking at Jon Corzine’s proposals and his poll numbers for a long time,” said Peter Woolley, a political science professor and the poll director, noting that Corzine’s poll numbers began to falter two years ago when he announced a plan to raise tolls and monetize the New Jersey Turnpike.
Christie, who takes office next Tuesday, has seen a bounce in his approvals after the November general election, when he beat Corzine 49%-44%. Nearly half the voters, 48%, approve of the way Christie has handled his transition, while 13% disapprove.
Two-thirds of New Jersey voters say the new Legislature should wait for Christie to take office and not pass new laws during the lame duck session.
“Passing last-minute laws and making midnight appointment after your electoral mandate has expired is a questionable practice,” said Woolley. “But this questionable practice is routine.”
And seven out of ten voters say New Jersey should “hold the line on spending, even if programs are reduced rather than raise taxes.”
Opposition to a gas tax increase is not as intense as it was four years ago. 32% agree that New Jersey should increase the tax, compared to just 18% in 2006. But a 61% of voters say that New Jersey has too many taxes and too much spending, and should not increase the gas tax. Opposition cuts across party lines: A majority of Democrats, independents, and Republicans all oppose a higher gas tax.
The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of 801 registered voters statewide was conducted by telephone from January 4-10 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.