Christie has done little to reform pensions, NJ residents say
A new poll out Tuesday reveals the vast majority of New Jerseyans think Gov. Chris Christie should have made a full payment into the public employees' pension system, despite his administration successfully arguing that a law he signed, requiring the complete payment, was unconstitutional.
Last month, the state Supreme Court struck down the part of that statute which would have forced Christie to make the payment. And in Tuesday's Monmouth University poll, few Garden State residents said they felt the governor had any real pension reform accomplishments to brag about on the presidential campaign trail.
"We find that just 12 percent of state residents approve of the governor's decision to forgo those full pension payments this year, while 42 percent disapprove and 46 percent have no opinion," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Only 11 percent said Christie can claim major accomplishments in fixing the state's pension system. The governor made the rounds across the state and country lauding the bipartisan pension reform after he signed it into law in 2011.
"Thirty-one percent say that he has only minor accomplishments, and nearly half (47 percent) say Gov. Christie has no real pension accomplishments to crow about," Murray said.
Despite the high cost of pension payments, the poll indicated most residents felt they should be made:
- 31 percent said public workers deserve the pension benefits they have earned, regardless of the cost;
- 46 percent said the benefits may be too high, but this is what was promised to the employees and the state owes it to them;
- Only 19 percent said the benefits are too high and should be cut.
The survey also asked residents about the job performances of President Barack Obama and the Garden State's two U.S. Senators, Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-NJ):
- 51 percent approve of the job the president is doing, 45 percent disapprove;
- 37 percent approve of the job Menendez is doing, 36 percent disapprove;
- 44 percent approve of the job Booker is doing, 22 percent disapprove.
The state legislature isn't getting a lot of love from New Jersey residents. Thirty-two percent approve of the job lawmakers are doing, and 51 percent disapprove. This is down from the 33 percent approve -- to 48 percent disapprove -- rating the legislature got in May.
Finally, respondents were also asked about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared same-sex marriage legal throughout the nation. The findings were:
- 49 percent had a favorable opinion of Obamacare, 43 percent unfavorable;
- 70 percent approve of legalizing same-sex marriages, 21 percent are opposed.
The survey was conducted by telephone with 503 New Jersey adults, including 453 registered voters, from June 30 to July 1, 2015. The total sample has a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent, and the registered voter sample has a margin of error of +/- 4.6 percent.