Most New Jersey residents are against Gov. Chris Christie’s plans for overhauling the state’s public universities, according to a Rutgers University poll. The statewide poll, held by the university’s Eagleton Institute of Politics, showed 57 percent of those responding oppose Christie’s proposal, while 22 percent approved, the Philadelphia Inquirer
Christie’s plans include a proposal to merge Rutgers-Camden into Rowan University and the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School into Rutgers. The governor says the moves will create a more competitive university in New Jersey, but Rutgers officials are resisting the plan.
The poll showed Republicans were more supportive than Democrats for the plan, but still only one-third of the Republicans asked backed it.
“We never see something where all the demographic groups line up like they have here,” said Rutgers-Eagleton poll director David Redlawsk. “Republican respondents always line up with” Christie.
Respondents were split almost evenly whether they would support a bond issue —which could exceed $1 billion — to pay for new or updated college facilities. The poll’s results followed a statement by Democratic Senate President Stephen Sweeney backing Christie’s plan.
“Gov. Christie has shown true leadership in providing the framework for higher education in southern New Jersey to reach unprecedented heights," Sweeney said.
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