Poll Finds NJ Voters Support Funding Conservation

Morristown, NJ, 7/11/2008: Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates (FMM&A) recently completed a brief statewide voter survey for The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and The Nature Conservancy in New Jersey to assess support for several proposals for funding open space, farmland and historic preservation programs in the state.1 Overall, the results showed strong support for several funding mechanisms, most notably a $800 million general obligation bond. Fully 61 percent of voters surveyed said that they would vote for such a statewide bond measure after hearing an explanation of how the bond would work – including its household cost impact. A majority of voters also indicated that they would support a constitutional amendment to fund conservation projects by dedicating money from a fee on water use, and a constitutional amendment to dedicate sales tax funding to conservation.

Among the key detailed findings of the survey were the following:

  • A solid majority of voters support a proposed $800 million bond measure for conservation. Survey respondents were offered a description of a potential $800 million bond measure to fund conservation programs, including its cost impact of $21 per year for the average household, and were asked how they would be inclined to vote. A 61 percent majority of those polled indicated they would be inclined to vote “yes,” while only about half as many (32 percent) indicated they would be inclined to vote against it.
  • A majority of voters support dedicating water user fee money to conservation. Respondents were also offered a description of a state constitutional amendment to dedicate $150 million in annual revenue from water consumption and water diversion user fees to conservation purposes. Voters backed this proposal by a 58 percent to 34 percent margin, despite knowing its cost impacts (about $32 per household per year).
  • A majority of voters support a dedication of sales tax money to conservation. Finally, respondents were presented with a description of a state constitutional amendment dedicating up to $175 million per year in state sales tax revenue to conservation programs. After hearing a short explanation of the proposal, a 54 percent majority indicated they would support it, while 35 percent said they would vote against it.

Overall, the results suggest that a majority of voters would likely support any of the three approaches to provide additional funding for conservation.

Methodology: From June 5-8, 2008, Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates conducted a telephone survey of 600 registered voters in New Jersey likely to cast ballots in the November 2008 election. The margin of error for the statewide sample is +/- 4.4 percentage points.