On the whole, New Jerseyans are not terribly familiar with their elected officials. A recent Rutgers-Eagleton poll had only 5 percent of respondents correctly identifying their state senator, and only 6 percent knew that we are voting this year for state Assembly. (Another 3 percent said the “state Legislature” in general. A full 76 percent said they simply didn’t know.)
On the bright side, about half (49 percent) knew that the Democrats controlled the state Legislature; Eagleton said knowledge about the state Legislature is somewhat better than when they started polling in 1971. At that time, 85 percent were unaware of the upcoming state elections.
Residents also have an unfavorable opinion of the Legislature (32 percent versus 28 percent; 40 percent had no opinion). Democrats have a somewhat better reputation among voters (37 percent) than do Republicans (24 percent).
New Jerseyans also believe that state government in general is doing “very little” (54 percent) toward solving the state’s biggest problems. One wonders, of course, which comes first — lack of interest in state politics or unhappiness with their representative’s performance.