While most Garden State residents expect a gas tax increase to be proposed in the near future to pay for road and bridge repairs, the majority of them don't support it.

John Rodriguez, ThinkStock

A Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) PublicMind poll released Thursday reveals while support among registered voters increased a little since January, opposition is still overwhelming.

“Right now, 62 percent say they are opposed to raising the gas tax for road and bridge repairs with 36 percent in favor,” said Krista Jenkins, professor of political science at FDU and director of PublicMind. “In January 28 percent were in favor with 68 percent opposed. The needle seems to be moving toward more support for a bump, perhaps because an increase is easier to stomach when gas prices are what they are today, but there’s still a long way to go in convincing the public to agree to pay more at the pump.”

Democrats and residents under 35 were the most likely to favor a gas tax increase. The demographic numbers included:

  • 46 percent of Democrats supported a gas tax hike. 53 percent were opposed;
  • 70 percent of Republicans opposed the idea. 27 percent supported it;
  • 59 percent of men were opposed. 39 percent were in favor;
  • 64 percent of women were opposed. 34 percent were in support;
  • 68 percent of New Jerseyans between the ages of 35 to 59 years old were against the tax hike. 30 percent favored it;
  • 46 percent of Jerseyans between the ages of 18 to 34 years old supported it. 54 were against it.

“Among those who say they are opposed to an increase in the gas tax, 48 percent believe taxes are too high already and 39 percent just don’t believe that politicians will use the money for infrastructure improvements,” Jenkins said.

The poll also asked those opposed to a gas tax increase if they would change their minds if the revenue would be constitutionally dedicated to transportation projects. Thirty-six percent said they would approve an increase under that scenario, but 61 percent remained firm in their opposition.

“As much as residents complain about and recognize the need to fix our roads and bridges, it’s hard to move forward when so few believe a chasm of difference separates what politicians say versus what they do,” Jenkins stated.

The poll was conducted by telephone from Nov. 9 -15, 2015 among a random statewide sample of 830 self-identified registered voters. The margin of error is +/- 3.9 points.

Kevin McArdle has covered the State House for New Jersey 101.5 news since 2002. Contact him at kevin.mcardle@townsquaremedia.com. Follow him on twitter at @kevinmcardle1.