June 22, 2021 – New Jersey voters strongly support workers’ rights to unionize, reforming New Jersey’s primary ballot design, and investing in alternatives to policing, according to a new public opinion poll by Data for Progress and New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP).
With the governorship and full Legislature up for election this fall, the findings of this poll show that New Jersey voters want to see their state lawmakers pursue an ambitious and progressive policy agenda that will build a state that is stronger, kinder, and fairer to all its residents.
“It’s clear that New Jersey voters are done with ‘business as usual’ and are ready to see our state transformed for the better,” said Brandon McKoy, President of New Jersey Policy Perspective. “Voters want lawmakers to make real, tangible change when it comes to supporting workers, making our democracy stronger, and our communities safer. Now it’s time for lawmakers to deliver.”
The poll finds that more than 6 in 10 New Jersey voters are aware of the “county line” on New Jersey’s primary ballots, with a majority of voters saying they support removing the line from primary ballots. As NJPP has previously reported, New Jersey is the only state in the country to organize its primary ballots this way. The line provides a structural advantage to candidates endorsed by county political parties, disenfranchising voters and allowing party insiders to pick election winners.
The poll finds that at least 7 out of 10 Democrats, Republicans, and unaffiliated voters support the right of workers to unionize. Additionally, 6 in 10 voters support reallocating resources used by law enforcement towards social and community based services, such as mental health support and violence prevention programs.
“As we emerge from this pandemic, New Jersey voters are keenly aware that simply returning to the status quo will not suffice,” said Brian Burton, Senior Analyst at Data for Progress. “This poll shows that the opportunity is ripe to enact ambitious changes in the Garden State.”
Key findings include:
- Union rights are broadly popular, with strong bipartisan support. In total, 78 percent of voters support the right of workers to unionize, while only 18 oppose. By party affiliation, 88 percent of Democrats support union rights, as do 72 percent of independent/unaffiliated voters and 70 percent of Republicans.
- A majority of New Jersey voters are familiar with the “county line” on the state’s primary ballots. In total, 61 percent of voters are familiar with the line, including 65 percent of Democrats, 55 percent of independents/unaffiliated voters, and 62 percent of Republicans reporting being somewhat or very familiar with the practice.
- There is broad, bipartisan support for changing the structure of New Jersey’s primary ballots so they look like those used in every other state. In total, 54 percent of voters support getting rid of the line, including 57 percent of Democrats, 57 percent of independents/unaffiliated voters, and a plurality of Republican voters at 47 percent.
- A majority of Democrats and independent/unaffiliated voters support investments in alternatives to policing. In total, 60 percent of voters support reallocating resources used by law enforcement towards community-based social and mental health programs, including 83 percent of Democrats, 51 percent of independents/unaffiliated voters, and 34 percent of Republicans.
From April 12 to 24, 2021, Data for Progress conducted a survey of 2,058 likely voters in New Jersey using SMS and web panel respondents. The sample was weighted to be representative of likely voters by age, gender, education, race, and voting history. The survey was conducted in English. The margin of error is ±2 percentage points.
The full poll results can be viewed here: