Voters Split on Christie, Against Gas Tax
New Jersey voters are evenly divided when asked about Gov. Chris Christie's overall job performance, despite giving him low ratings in several key areas. A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday also revealed Garden State residents are opposed to a gas tax increase by a wide margin.
However, the majority supports legalizing sports betting, and building a new rail tunnel between New Jersey and New York.
"Christie is still down there in the tepid numbers on job approval; 48 percent approve, 47 percent disapprove," said Mickey Carroll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. "It's been down there in the doldrums, actually, since Bridgegate started."
By a 2-to-1 margin, voters think Christie has strong leadership skills. They are divided when asked if he cares about their specific problems, or if he's trustworthy. The governor gets negative ratings for how he's handling the economy (41 percent approval to 51 percent disapproval), the state budget (42-48 percent) and education (39-50 percent).
A major topic in the state is how to replenish the nearly bankrupt Transportation Trust Fund. Some lawmakers have proposed an increase in the gas tax. Overall, 58 percent of those surveyed oppose that idea while 39 percent support it.
"That (gas tax hike) crosses the double white line for a head-on collision with a cardinal rule of New Jersey politics: Don't hike the gas tax," Carroll said.
By a wide margin, Republicans and independent voters are against a gas tax increase, but Democrats support it, 51 to 46 percent.
The issue of allowing sports betting at New Jersey's casinos and racetracks is bogged down in the courts, but voters were asked about that topic too. Overall, 51 percent support it while 43 percent are opposed. Men approve of sports betting 64 to 31 percent, while women are against it, 54 to 39 percent. Younger voters are generally more supportive of sports wagering than the older set.
New Jersey voters support building a new rail tunnel between the Garden State and Manhattan by a margin of 53 to 37 percent, with 62 percent of respondents saying such a tunnel is at least somewhat important to them.
From Dec. 3-8, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,340 registered voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.