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Poll: N.J. likes Christie but not his tax cut for rich

christie022310_optGovernor supports letting surcharge expire on those making $400,000 or more

As he cuts school and health care aid in the face of two major budget deficits, Gov.

Chris Christie has significant support from New Jerseyans, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll made public Monday.

Christie is viewed favorably by 45 percent, and unfavorably by 26 percent. Another 26 percent feel neither favorable nor unfavorable toward him.

But most voters agree that tax rates for New Jerseyans making $400,000 or more per year should not be cut, despite Christie's support for allowing the surcharge imposed on high earners to expire.

A majority of virtually every demographic group opposes the cut, and even Republicans are not sure, with 46 percent supporting and 47 percent opposing the tax cut. Independents strongly oppose the tax cut, by a 2-to-1 margin, the same ratio among voters who are unsure of their opinion about Christie. Even voters making more than $150,000 per year oppose the tax cut, with only 35 percent supporting the cut and 64 percent opposing it.

"Governor Christie has built up a lot of favorability since he took office, but cutting taxes for high-earning New Jerseyans is very unpopular, even when we made clear that Christie supports the expiration of the surcharge on high-income filers," said David Redlawsk, poll director and professor of political science. "At the same time, there has been much less focus on this, and a lot more on his moves to cut costs, so overall the tax rate issue does not seem to be hurting him directly."

Christie's positive rating comes though few voters say it is "very likely" he will be able to make the sweeping changes he proposes, and most oppose his call for cutting tax rates for wealthy New Jerseyans. The governor will unveil his proposed 2010-11 budget on March 16 and detail how he expects to confront a deficit of as much as $11 billion.

A random telephone poll of 953 New Jersey adults was conducted Feb. 19-22 and included 886 registered voters.

"Governor Christie has managed to solidify a strong net positive rating among New Jersey voters in a short time," Redlawsk said. "While Democrats predictably view him very unfavorably, independents view Christie favorably by a 2-to-1 margin. Continuing support among independents will be important to Christie's ability to make changes in Trenton, since Democratic legislative leaders are likely to pay close attention to that."

Redlawsk also observed that more than a quarter of New Jerseyans are not ready to give an opinion and may be swayed by what they see in the weeks following the budget address.

Christie's favorability rating falls between two national politicians. President Barack Obama is viewed favorably by 56 percent and unfavorably by 31 percent of New Jerseyans. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, however, has little support in New Jersey, viewed favorably by only 27 percent and unfavorably by 52 percent. Christie's net positive rating of 19 percent, though not quite as high as Obama's 25-point margin, is far above Palin's 25-point negative rating.

Christie is viewed particularly positively by Evangelical Christians, 52 percent to 20 percent, and men, who give him a 54 percent to 22 percent favorable rating. Women are much less positive, supporting Christie 37 percent to 29 percent.

New Jerseyans living in union households are also slightly positive, 42 percent to 35 percent. Blacks are negative, 40 percent to 22 percent. New Jerseyans over 65 are much more favorable than younger ones. The former group views Christie favorably, 52 percent to 18 percent, while the latter group splits, 35 percent both favorable and unfavorable.

Asked if the future of New Jersey is better, worse, or the same since Christie's defeat of former Gov. Jon Corzine, most believe prospects are about the same (42 percent), while 27 percent say "better" and 18 percent say "worse." Not surprisingly, Democrats and Corzine voters are much more likely to think the future will be worse, while half of Republicans and Christie voters say the future will be better. Evangelical Christians are not as positive, with only a quarter saying the future will be better, while 43 percent expect it to be the same.

Views of the future vary greatly by age. Registered voters under 30 are much more likely to say the future will be worse (29 percent) than better (14 percent), while 31 percent of New Jerseyans 65 and over believe the future will be better, while only 9 percent think it will be worse. Likewise, high-income voters are twice as likely as lower-income voters to say the future will be better (40 percent to 20 percent).

Significant skepticism that Christie's plans for a sweeping change in Trenton ever will come about appears to be softening New Jerseyans' optimism for the future.

A November post-election Rutgers-Eagleton Poll showed that only 5 percent of those who wanted Christie's top priority to be cutting taxes thought it was very likely to happen. The new poll shows that New Jerseyans still are not sure change is really coming - only 7 percent think the "sweeping changes" proposed by Christie are "very likely" to happen, while 55 percent think they are "somewhat likely." More than one-third (36 percent) say sweeping changes are not likely at all. Even Christie voters are somewhat skeptical, with only 17 percent saying sweeping changes are "very likely."

"Voters recognize that while Governor Christie has an agenda of change and reform, politics in Trenton is complicated," Redlawsk said. "They have seen governors come in before promising change and still their taxes go up, roads remain in terrible shape and state government doesn't seem to change."

— TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

 
Comments (7)
7 Thursday, 17 February 2011 17:07
Julian Kernes
The Trickle Down Theory is like someone taking an orange and squeezing a few drops in a glass and selling it to us and we are suppose to be happy about it when they have a whole tree full oranges and they could never eat it all before things go bad.

The greater the gap between the top 1% and the rest of us the more corruption comes about.

The reason for high compensation for executive is so companies can attract the best and the brightest, the huge bonuses and the best health care are so they won't move to a competitor, however I guess they don't want increase pay anyone who works to create the prosperity for them and should have to get pay cuts because of the economy. Don't they want to attract the best and the brightest teachers and technicians by the same reasoning as they use for the executives by rewarding them. One parent use to be able to support a family, but now they can't.

Too often the top 1% have more than they can use in several life times and the small increase in tax hardly effects their life, but the extra money would help countless people. The shared sacrifice is their pocket change.
6 Monday, 30 August 2010 18:07
E. Scott
So many people have a knee-jerk reaction when they hear that taxes on the rich are going to be reduced. But do you give any thought whatsoever to the actual consequences of raising taxes on that same group? The top 1% are already paying 40% of the State's income tax.

A report was commissioned by the state Chamber of Commerce and the Community Foundation of New Jersey to study the effects of wealth migration on charitable giving after executives noticed more affluent philanthropists were moving away. Wealth includes assets such as real estate, stocks, bonds, 401ks, mutual funds and vehicles.

The report, by Boston College, showed that between 2004 and 2008 New Jersey lost over $70 Billion (with a B) in wealth as affluent residents moved elsewhere. The report found wealthy households in New Jersey were leaving for other states — mainly Florida, Pennsylvania and New York — at a faster rate than they were being replaced, and that marks a swift reversal of fortune for a state once considered the nation’s wealthiest. The exodus of wealth, then, local experts and economists concluded, was a reaction to a series of changes in the state’s tax structure — including increases in the income, sales, property and “millionaire” taxes.

But economists say there are many other implications for the state’s financial health.

Wealthy residents are a key driver for everything from job creation and consumer spending to the real estate market and the state budget, said Jim Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. In New Jersey, the top 1 percent of taxpayers pay more than 40 percent of the state’s income tax, he said.

He added the report reinforces findings from a similar study he conducted in 2007 with fellow Rutgers professor Joseph Seneca, which found a sharp acceleration in residents leaving the state. That report, which focused on income rather than wealth, found the state lost nearly $8 billion in gross income in 2005.

Findings from the Boston College report show that about 302,780 households left New Jersey between 2004 and 2008, only slightly lower than the 323,350 households that moved into the state. However, the average net worth of the departing households was about 70 percent higher, at $618,330.

Those who left were also more likely to be older and more educated, with jobs as entrepreneurs or in the finance and professional industries, the study found. Those replacing them tended to hold management or support jobs in the manufacturing industry. The study analyzed data from three main sources: The Federal Reserve’s Survey on Consumer Finances, the Census Bureau and the Internal Revenue Service.

So go ahead and keep taxing the wealthy residents of the State, so you can feel good about yourself, and we'll keep watching the moving vans come and move them to other localities.
5 Thursday, 01 April 2010 00:31
Aces High
Police do a job that is in a higher risk group than most.$100,000 to wear a bullet proof vest because of the risk, working through the night and holidays is worth a bit more. Remember police pay into their pensions more than others. Pay police less and you will have the same corruption as in third world countries. Governor Christie is doing the job that needs to be done and that no one else would do. Hopefully he can keep up the fight and be a bit more tactful.
4 Monday, 29 March 2010 11:34
Mike D
Ann and Greg's letters are so well written and on point. I am a state employee, I work for DCF (DYFS), and for years have had to listen to the never ending claims that state workers have it made, have our own state cars, are overpaid, have a great pension, etc. Well as a great poet once said "Don't believe the hype." None of the above are true (especially the ridiculous claims made about state vehicles. Employees can only take them home in an emergency, and because of the decreasing amount of state facilities, very often have to pay for the fuel needed to investigate and respond to child abuse or neglect).
Centers of disinformation, like 101.5, have caused much of the myth making. And it's no accident. It's unbelievable how comfortable people are with blaming the state budget problems on people who earn LESS than 60,000 a year. Teachers and social workers are the problem?!! Do people forget that we pay taxes too? This demonizing is a deliberate and brilliant distraction created to protect the status quo. And this is what republicans do, let's be honest. They create bogeymen, while they protect a feeding frenzy at the top. The rich are largely unaffected by budget gaps, inflation, and the decreasing value of our money. And look, Christie didn't waste a hot minute cutting taxes for the wealthy. If he really cared about NJ, he would at least have some humility about it. He did it boldly, and really doesn't care what people think. He swindled New Jerseyans into voting for him, and now he is doing exactly what was expected of him by the most cynical of voters. He is basically saying, 'who cares about the vulnerable, the hard working, and those who have already made sacrifices?'
People who choose to teach, or protect children, or protect the average citizen are already sacrificing. To compensate for our low pay, state employees were given health care (which we contribute plenty to), and pensions (which we have also contributed plenty to).
If taxes have to be raises across the board, then fine. Do it fairly, and "across the board." government employees are willing to make sacrifices. State employees have sustained a pay cut with little complaining or protest. For me it means about two hundred less dollars a month. This is a lot of money for someone earning 50,000 dollars a year.

Both Ann and Greg are right. It's wrong to go after the middle class, the poor, and state workers to protect the greed of others.
I am a left leaning Independent who voted for Christie because of the out of control spending. It is insane that local cops make $100,000 a year. That's why no one can afford to live in NJ, taxes pay for this nonsense. So go ahead and make the budget cuts - BUT, these tax cuts for those making over $400,000 will not only ensure that I never vote for Christie again, I will become an activist and tell everyone I know, and spread the word in every way I can that Christie is going after the middle class and protecting the rich.. I'll work like I never have before in politics to bring back a democrat to replace Christie in the next election. And I'll support any democrat in our state that wants to be an "obstructionist" and block his policies from going into law.

Believe that.
2 Friday, 19 March 2010 10:23
Greg, Randolph, NJ

I don't know where this poll was taken but it doesn't reflect reality today, March 19, 2010. I am appalled at these draconian cuts to education and services to the poor. I know many parents who are shocked at the gross cuts in education. Perhaps this poll should be taken again, and again, and again as each town finds out how many teachers, sports and music programs, kindergarten programs and AP courses are going to be dropped in our schools across the state. The garden state is going to be the state that was left behind in the information age, and the state that defers its pension for state employees until they just don't bother contributing any further. Do not cut services. Do not cut education. Perhaps some cuts are needed, but the cuts he is proposing are absorb. In a time when jobs needed to be created, Christie will cut jobs and destroy more families, and this cyclical pattern will make even more businesses in NJ hurt and fold. Christie and any legislator that supports this tax cut and these expenditure cuts will always lose my vote.
Governor Christie is wrong to make cuts to services for the poor, schools, and hospitals while cutting taxes to residents making over $400,000. As a wealthy resident said when the former governor imposed the surcharge, this surcharge will not impact my ability to buy food, heat my home, cloth my children, or obtain any basic necessities. Ronald Raegan and George W. Bush gave tax cuts to the wealthiest and our Christie Whitman cut our NJ taxes. What happened when these tax cuts were made? Our local and county taxes went up to compensate and the middle class and poor were the most impacted either by increased taxes for the middle class and reduced services for the poor.

This is wrong and any politician who votes for this tax cut will lose my vote. I am an independent voter and I vote in every election. Also, most of my friends and neighbors are in agreement that our taxes will go up to compensate for these tax cuts just like ours with up under Gov. Whitman, Ronald Raegan, and George W. Bush. And the problems with the pension funds began with Governor Whitman when she first tried to raid the fund then stopped funding it. It is unfair of this governor and any politician to push the blame onto the government employees who have fulfilled their terms of the contract through their ongoing pension contributions. It's time to stop punishing the residents and/or government employees for a problem that the politicians created and giving back money to the wealthiest is not the way to do it.

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