NJ largely clueless about gas tax ballot question, says poll
It looks like New Jersey voters aren't paying much attention to a constitutional amendment being discussed in Trenton that could bring a change to how the state spends the revenue collected from its gas tax.
A Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) PublicMind poll released Monday reveals the vast majority of Garden State residents are unaware that one of the ballot questions in November's election could ask them if they want to amend the constitution to dedicate all revenue from every motor fuel tax to the almost bankrupt Transportation Trust Fund (TTF).
“Few know much about the issue with only 29 percent who say they’ve heard much about the proposed amendment,” said Krista Jenkins, professor of political science at FDU and director of PublicMind. “Since little attention has been paid to this issue so far, an information campaign could move the needle either way.”
Overall, 46 percent of those surveyed said they know "nothing at all" about the likely ballot question, and the numbers stayed solid across all demographics.
The following is the breakdown of those who said they were completely unaware:
- Democrats - 46 percent
- Republicans - 49 percent
- Independents - 41 percent
- Men - 41 percent
- Women - 51 percent
“On this issue of dedicating the revenue to the TTF, our most recent survey of residents finds opinion divided with half or 49 percent who say they favor the amendment, with 30 percent who say they’re opposed. The remainder is undecided,” Jenkins said.
The TTF is on pace to run out of money for capital projects at the end of the current fiscal year which officially draws to a close at midnight on June 30. Democratic legislative leaders have been openly talking for more than a year about raising the gas tax to replenish the fund. That would be a tough sell to the public.
“Back in November of last year we asked people if they favored raising the gasoline tax and at that time we only found 36 percent who favored increasing it, with 62 percent opposed,” Jenkins said.
The latest poll was conducted by phone Jan. 4-10, 2016 among a random statewide sample of 902 adult residents. The margin of error is +/- 3.6 points.
Kevin McArdle has covered the State House for New Jersey 101.5 news since 2002. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter at @kevinmcardle1.