Democrats in Trenton have presented multiple pieces of legislation to Governor Chris Christie before he has issued a stern veto. Two major ones in the past year have involved increasing minimum wage in the state from $7.25 to $8.50 and making same sex marriage legal. A recent Rutgers-Eagleton poll shows voters backing being able to decide on these measures being put forth by Democrats and being denied by Christie. The poll showcases support for voting both on a constitutional amendment to increase the minimum wage via a ballot initiative and a referendum for same sex marriage on this November’s ballot. The poll also highlights voters still wanting a checks and balance with a Democratic-led State Legislature being reelected this Fall.
76% of those polled support voting on a constitutional amendment that would increase the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 as well as link future increases to the cost of living in the state. 20% are opposed to any such amendment being on November’s ballot. The support goes across Democratic and Republican lines among voters.
As David Redlawsk, Director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers University, outlines;
“Voters here appear sympathetic to low-wage workers. Everyone feels the high cost of living. That likely means most recognize the difficulty of living on minimum wage. The willingness to increase the minimum cuts across all political boundaries.”
By a similar margin, voters also support voting on same sex marriage this November. 68% support a referendum on the question and issue while 25% oppose such a measure. There is a near mirror image for support and opposition to same sex marriage. 62% support having same sex marriage legalized while 30% oppose such a change with 8% unsure.
The poll also showed Democratic support over Republicans in both the state Senate and Assembly. Voters support Democrats by 17% (43 % to 26%) in the state Senate and by 15% (38% to 23%) in the Assembly. 22% were not certain about the state Senate and 26% were not certain about the Assembly. As Redlawsk would add, Christie is doing very well against Buono according to this poll but not impacting how the State Legislature will shake down especially considering things are not exactly pointed in his favor at the moment.
“Governor Christie’s 30-point lead over Sen. Buono is not trickling down to preferences for the Legislature. Statewide, voters seem quite willing to split their ballot. But we have not polled individual races, so although Democrats hold a large overall lead, some specific races are likely to be more competitive.”
It should be interesting to see how voters poll regarding minimum wage and same sex marriage throughout the rest of the year and what that could mean for major changes in the Garden State regardless of if the state elections are on pace for status quo results.