In a state with a long history of political corruption, just 6% of New Jerseyans think the state’s politicians are “not at all corrupt,” while a staggering 80% view them as corrupt, a new Fairleigh Dickinson University poll shows.
More than one-third of New Jersey residents (34%) view New Jersey politicians as “somewhat corrupt,” while 27% say they are “very corrupt,” and 19% view them as “a little corrupt.”
While 5% of Republicans view politicians are “not at all corrupt,” that number more than doubles to 11% among Democrats.
Asked about the “politicians who represent you in state and local government,” the number of New Jerseyans who view them as “not at all corrupt” jumps from 6% to 13%, and the “very corrupt” number drops nine percentage points to 18%.
“This is Jersey, and people expect some degree of corruption,” said poll director Dan Cassino, a professor of Government and Politics at FDU. “But the fact that they think their own representatives, the people they could vote out, are corrupt is really saying something.”
Among Democrats, the view of their own local politicians is that 18% are viewed as “not at all corrupt,” and 58% say they are either a little or somewhat corrupt. Ten percent of Republicans view the local politicos as “not at all corrupt,” and the combined little or somewhat number is 56%. Independents closely mirror the Republicans.
“People tend to think politicians from the other side are corrupt, so it makes sense that Republicans see more corruption than Democrats,” Cassino explained. “Since independents don’t particularly like either party, it makes sense that they’d be more negative about everyone, even the politicians that they elected.”
The poll was conducted between April 28 and May 6 with a sample size of 716 adult New Jersey residents and had a sample size of +/- 3.5%; some design effects of the FDU poll changed the margin of error to +/- 4.7%.