THE RICHARD STOCKTON COLLEGE OF NEW JERSEY

Office of Public Relations

Pomona, NJ  08240

 

Stockton-Zogby Poll Reveals Why Corruption Was Not Forrester’s Issue in NJ Gubernatorial Election

 

 

For Immediate Release  

Thursday, November 10, 2005

 

Contact:   Tim Kelly

                  Stockton Public Relations

                  (609) 652-4950

 

Galloway Township, NJIn two separate Stockton-Zogby polls Douglas Forrester never convinced New Jersey voters on the issue of corruption.

 

When asked to rate which candidate was better able to handle issues relating to education, environment, jobs and the economy, taxes, safety and security, and corruption in government, Senator Jon Corzine was the clear winner in the first poll, trailing slightly only on the issue of corruption, Douglas Forrester's main campaign theme.  By the time of the second poll, Corzine led in all categories, including the ability to handle issues relating to corruption.  Note, however, in some cases, including corruption, the differences were within the margin of error of the poll.  Nonetheless, Senator Corzine appeared to have turned a corner on his opponent's main theme by the time of the now famous campaign ad featuring Corzine's ex-wife.

 

Survey results also suggest that corruption was not an overwhelmingly salient issue for New Jersey Voters.  While 52% agreed with the statement that "Most people in political office are corrupt and are there to further their own interests or the interests of their friends, families, and campaign contributors," a sizeable minority (42%) believe that "Most people in political office are decent and hardworking and are there to work for the best interests of the people."

 

When asked to identify specific levels or branches of government where corruption might exist, with one exception--Congress--at least half of the respondents thought that most state legislators and local officials were "generally decent."  Moreover, when asked about their own political representatives, voter confidence in the ethical behavior of public officials leaps dramatically.  Nearly two thirds or more of all New Jersey voters see their political representatives as "generally decent" and not corrupt.

 

Clearly there were other issues at work in this gubernatorial election.  However, our data gives some indication why corruption failed to resonate and to activate voters in the manner that Douglas Forrester had hoped.

 

The first poll interviewed 601 likely voters and was conducted between October 17, 2005 and October 19, 2005.  The second poll of 403 likely voters was conducted between October 26,2005, and October 27, 2005.  Reports of both polls are available on the Stockton College website at http://www2.stockton.edu/zogby/