The Al Alvarez scandal has dominated New Jersey print news for the last four months, but most state residents haven’t heard anything about it.
A Monmouth University poll released this morning says that 59% of New Jerseyans haven’t heard about legislative hearings on the hiring of Alvarez, a former Murphy administration official who has been accused of raping a campaign volunteer in 2017.
Just 41% said they have heard about the scandal – a number that points to the declining influence of the print media on rank-and-file voters who either don’t read editorials or simply don’t care about them.
As a point of comparison, a January 2014 Quinnipiac University poll said that 93% of New Jerseyans said they were aware of a traffic jam at the George Washington Bridge. By April, the number grew to 96%.
In states with network television affiliates and their own media markets, other scandals had wider and more immediate attention.
In Virginia, 85% of residents said they were aware of a story about Gov. Ralph Northam and racist photographs that appeared beside his name in his 1984 medical school yearbook. The Washington Post/Schar School Virginia poll that went into the field within days of the news breaking.
Last year in Missouri, more than 90% of state residents knew that Gov. Eric Greitens was charged with felony invasion of privacy for photographing his mistress and threatening to make the photo public if she ever spoke of their relationship. Greitens resigned after less than six months as governor.
Not every scandal resonates with voters.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s approvals dipped a little during the corruption trial of his former top aide, but the scandal itself was not polled by any of the public pollsters in New York and the verdict did not stop Cuomo from winning re-election.