Gov. Christopher Christie has a 44%-42% job approval rating, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll released this morning. The governor has an upside-down 58%-33% approval rating among public employee households, and is at 48%-36% among non-public employee households.
Christie was at 43%-32% in a March FDU poll.
“The spam is hitting the fan,” said Peter Woolley, the FDU poll director. “As the breadth and depth of the budget cuts becomes known, people have hardened in their opinions.”
New Jersey voters don’t recognize the names of the two legislative leaders. Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-West Deptford) is unknown to 81% of New Jerseyans, and 95% have never heard of Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange). Voters don’t recognize former Supreme Court Justice John Wallace or his replacement, Anne Paterson. Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a possible 2013 Christie opponent, has statewide favorable of 42%-6%.
The governor’s legislative nemeses are largely unknown: four of five (81%) have not heard, or have no opinion, of Senate President Stephen Sweeney and 95% have not heard, or have no opinion, of Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver. Likewise, Justice John Wallace and court nominee Anne Patterson, the subjects of Trenton controversy for the governor, are off the radar screen of most voters. However, Newark’s Democratic mayor, Cory Booker, stands out with a favorable rating of 42% compared to 6% unfavorable.
Three of five voters (60%) say the state should hold the line on spending even if many programs are reduced, while just 23% say the state should raise taxes if necessary and continue to support state programs.
Asked about limiting public employees to accruing no more than two years vacation time, 74% say it’s a good idea, while 23% say it’s a bad idea. Three of five (60%) also say it’s a good idea to cap public employee salary increases at 2.5 percent, though public employee households split evenly on the question (46-46). Similarly, 61% say it’s a good idea to raise the retirement age for public employees to 65 years of age from 62, while 33% disagree, and public employees split again (45-51). By a two-to-one margin (64%-31%) voters say it’s a good idea to ask school teachers not to take a pay increase for the coming year, and public employee households agree (57-36). And a majority (53) say it’s a good idea to move school elections to November from April, while 18% disagree.
Two of five (41%) voters say, taking everything into account, the governor’s proposed budget is “good for New Jersey” unchanged from late March after the governor made many of his proposals known, while about the same proportion (37%) say it’s bad, up seven points from March.
The percentage of voters who say the state is moving in the right direction, 35%, is essentially unchanged, as is the percentage of voters who say the state is on the wrong track (55%).
The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of 654 registered voters statewide was conducted by telephone from May 19, 2010, through May 23, 2010, and has a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.