New Jerseyans feel that NJN television provides a valuable service and government should support it in some way. But the latest Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll also finds the public is divided on plans to sell the state-owned broadcaster.
NJN TV and radio have been operated by the New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority for 40 years. Governor Christie has proposed selling or transferring the station’s assets by the end of this year. A legislative task force has been holding hearings on this proposal.
Nearly 6-in-10 (58%) state residents approve of using public funds to help run NJN, compared to 36% who oppose this. The number who currently support state funding is slightly lower than the 62% who felt this way in 1999, but higher than the 51% who said the same in 1994.
Although most residents support state funding of NJN, the public is divided on the proposed sale or transfer – 39% approve of the move and 34% disapprove, with another 26% having no opinion. Among residents who have watched NJN at least once in the past month, opinion on the sale stands at 40% approve to 39% disapprove. But among the smaller number of NJN viewers who are already aware of the proposed sale – representing about 1-in-10 New Jersey residents – just 36% approve of the sale, compared to 55% who disapprove.
The public is unsure whether the sale or transfer of NJN would affect its coverage of New Jersey topics and issues. One-in-five (19%) say a sale would actually improve the station’s coverage of the state and a similar number (18%) expect this coverage would get worse. However, most feel that either coverage of the state would not change much (38%) or they don’t know how it would change (25%) if the station is no longer owned by state government.