Do you think casino gambling should be allowed to expand into North Jersey?

How about all the revenue raised from the state gas tax (we've already got a 14.5-cent-per-gallon one, and no one knows if a 23-cent hike is coming) — should it be exclusively dedicated to the Transportation Trust Fund to pay for road and bridge projects in the Garden state ?

This fall, New Jersey voters will be asked whether to amend the state Constitution on these two questions, and a new poll finds if the election were held today, one would pass and the other would be rejected.

“The poll finds 35 percent are in favor of a proposed amendment regarding casino expansion beyond Atlantic City, with a majority, or 58 percent, who say they are opposed to this amendment,” said Krista Jenkins, director of the Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll.

She said support for expanding casinos beyond Atlantic City into northern New Jersey is down a bit from January when the same question was asked.

“Back then we found 42 percent were supportive of casino expansion, with 57 percent who said that they were opposed,” she said. “Favorable attitudes towards casino expansion have never been part of the landscape. We’ve been tracking attitudes on this issue for years and allowing more casinos in the state has never been embraced by a majority of voters, so it will continue to experience an uphill battle in convincing voters that casinos beyond Atlantic City are a worthwhile investment in their local economies.”

On the amendment that would require all revenue from the gas tax to go to the transportation trust fund, Jenkins said it looks like there’s a very slim majority for support.

“Fifrty-one percent are in favor of the proposed amendment, with a third, or 34 percent, who said that they are opposed,” she said

Jenkins said attitudes on this issue are basically unchanged from January, when the question was asked and 49 percent were in favor, with 30 percent who were opposed.

She said even though the state's Transportation Trust Fund could soon run out of money, and hundreds of road and bridge repair projects have been put on hold in New Jersey, “voters remain luke-warm to the idea of amending the state’s Constitution in order to address the TTF shortfall.”

On the issue of casino expansion, Jenkins said opposition is consistent among Republicans and Democrats, men and women, and all other demographic groups as well.

On the question of dedicating gas tax money to the TTF, the poll found Democrats (58 percent) and independents (51 percent) were more supportive of the amendment more than Republicans (39 percent).

The poll was conducted by telephone from June 22 to 26 using a randomly selected sample of 712 self-identified registered voters in New Jersey.

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