BY TOM HESTER SR.
By a 2 to 1 margin, an all-time high, New Jersey voters want to see the state budget balanced by increasing the state income tax levy on wealthy residents -- the so-called Millionaire’s Tax -- something Gov. Chris Christie has repeatedly opposed.
Voters support a tax hike on the rich by 64 to 28 percent, up from a high of 55 to 34 percent in a Feb. 10 poll, according to a Quinnipiac University poll made public Thursday. Current support is 82 to 13 percent among Democrats and 67 to 25 percent among independent voters, while Republicans are opposed 54 to 38 percent.
“Maybe it’s Occupy Wall Street or maybe Garden State voters just want to see the rich folks pay more, but support for the Millionaire’s Tax is 2 to1, an all-time high,” Maurice Carroll, the poll’s director, said.
Voters also strongly agree by 52 to 34 percent with the views of the Occupy Wall Street protestors. Agreement is 76 to 13 percent among Democrats and 52 to 31 percent among independent voters. Republicans disagree 68 to 21 percent. Men agree 50 to 39 percent while women agree 53 to 30 percent. Voters say 77 to 19 percent, including 63 to 34 percent among Republicans, that it is “OK that they are protesting.”
Voters also support by 66 to 15 percent a proposal to extend a New York subway line under the Hudson River to the NJTransit station in Secaucus and say 66 to 26 percent that New Jersey should contribute financially to building a new tunnel for the subway.
Even Republican voters support the proposal 57 to 17 percent and support paying something towards it 60 to 31 percent. Support for the plan ranges from 48 to 20 percent in the Philadelphia suburbs to 74 to 13 percent among both urban and suburban voters in counties north of Trenton. Support for paying something for the tunnel is strong in every region.
Voters support 51 to 36 percent Christie’s decision to cancel a Hudson River commuter rail tunnel from Secaucus to mid-town Manhattan as too expensive.
“Voters supported Christie’s decision to kill the original Hudson River rail tunnel to Macy’s basement, but now there’s strong support for a cheaper alternative, a New York City subway to New Jersey,” Carroll said. “Even more amazing, voters are willing to have New Jersey pay something for the project.”
Voters say 63 to 32 percent that the state should seek federal approval to implement sports betting in New Jersey. Support is strong among all groups and in all regions.
“Now that New Jerseyans have endorsed sports betting in a November 8 referendum, they think Trenton should push Washington for permission to do it,” Carroll said.
Voter opinions on ways to address New Jersey’s ongoing budget issues are:
- 62 to 32 percent support for a wage freeze for state workers;
- 49 to 37 percent support for furloughs for state workers;
- 54 to 39 percent opposition to layoffs for state workers;
- 57 to 34 percent for spending cuts only, rather than a mix of cuts and tax hikes.
From Nov. 9 through Monday, Quinnipiac surveyed 1,788 registered voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.