NEW BRUNSWICK – New Jersey’s registered voters strongly support a constitutional amendment to raise the state’s minimum wage by one dollar and index it to inflation, according to a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. The increase from $7.25 to $8.25 an hour will be on the November ballot and is supported by 76 percent of voters. Only 20 percent express opposition. Support is wide, and includes a majority of Republicans who plan to vote for the increase, despite Gov. Chris Christie’s earlier veto of a similar measure.
“Voters here appear sympathetic to low-wage workers,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers University. “Everyone feels the high cost of living. That likely means most recognize the difficulty of living on minimum wage. The willingness to increase the minimum cuts across all political boundaries.”
A proposal to place the question of same-sex marriage on the fall ballot also gets broad support; voters want a chance to decide by a 68 percent to 25 percent margin. Given a chance, New Jersey seems likely to become the latest state to legalize same-sex marriage: 62 percent would vote yes on the question, 30 percent would vote no, while 8 percent are unsure. This represents the highest level of support for gay marriage ever recorded in a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.
Asked about the upcoming legislative races, voters are at least 15 points more likely to support Democrats than Republicans for the General Assembly and state Senate. This is despite Christie’s popularity and huge re-election lead over Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono. Results of this ballot test have changed little since the last Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, taken in February.
About six months from Election Day, Democratic support for the Assembly is stronger than GOP support, 38 percent to 23 percent, and for the Senate, 43 percent to 26 percent. Twenty-six percent are unsure of their Assembly vote and 22 percent are not certain about the Senate.
Of those with an opinion, twice as many voters view the Democratic-controlled Legislature favorably as unfavorably (41 percent to 20 percent). Nearly 40 percent have no opinion.
“Governor Christie’s 30-point lead over Sen. Buono is not trickling down to preferences for the Legislature,” said Redlawsk. “Statewide, voters seem quite willing to split their ballot. But we have not polled individual races, so although Democrats hold a large overall lead, some specific races are likely to be more competitive.”
Results are from a poll of 923 New Jersey adults conducted statewide among both landline and cell phone households from April 3-7. The sample includes 819 registered voters reported on here, with a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points.
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