Voters target state workers

Three out of four New Jersey voters want to see a wage freeze for state workers and 61 percent back the idea of lay offs to balance the state budget, according to a Quinnipiac University poll out today.

When it comes to a wage freeze, even union households support the idea, 62 to 33 percent. Statewide, 75 percent of voters support a wage freeze compared to 21 percent who oppose it.

As to lay offs, 49 percent of union households support the idea against 48 percent who oppose it.

The survey results come as Gov.-elect Christopher J. Christie has promised to get tough with public employees once he is in office.

With the state facing a budget deficit that could exceed $8 billion, 68 percent of those surveyed said they favored budget cuts over tax increases. But at the same time, 60 percent of those surveyed said they want state aid to towns and schools to remain level and 45 percent want property tax rebates preserved at their current level. Another 29 percent want a rebate increase.

The poll also shows widespread anger throughout the state. A total of 73 percent of those surveyed said they are "somewhat dissatisfied" or "very dissatisfied" with the way things are going, the worst rating Quinnipiac has ever measured here. Several incumbents' numbers reflect voters' frustration.

President Obama has a 51 to 42 percent approval rating, his lowest ever in New Jersey, according to Quinnipiac. Outgoing Gov. Corzine's approval ratings fell to 31 percent, with 59 percent disapproving of his performance, also his worst showing. Even more voters, 65 percent, disapprove of the state Legislature's work. U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg has the worst rating of his career, at 40 to 41 percent. U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez approval rating was also split, at 36 percent to 37.

The poll surveyed 1,615 New Jersey voters and has a 2.4 percent margin of error.

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