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April 22, 2014

By a tiny margin — 46 percent to 45 percent -- New Jerseyans would prefer their own local government rather than consolidating with a neighboring town, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton poll. That’s down from the last time Rutgers-Eagleton asked the question, in March 2010, when respondents were overwhelmingly in favor of consolidation (54 percent).

The reason for the lack of enthusiasm may be that most of the respondents were unsure whether consolidation would make municipal government more or less efficient: 37 percent said it would; 37 percent said it would not change much; and 18 percent said it would become less efficient. That trend continued when questioned whether local services would get better with consolidation: 20 percent said yes; 27 percent said no; and 44 percent said they would stay the same.

Although Gov. Chris Christie has been promoting consolidation this year, opinions did not seem to be tied to party ideology and were relatively similar across the board: Republican, Democrat, or independent.

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