The Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll of 705 voters found that 45 percent think religious institutions should be able to receive the money, while 44 perecnt think they should not.
The Star-Ledger reported in May that Beth Medrash Govoha, an all-male orthodox Jewish rabbinical school in Lakewood, was awarded $10.6 million from the state’s $1.3 billion bond issue that was approved by voters in November.
The school became eligible for the funds after the school lobbied Gov. Chris Chrsitie and lawmakers to change the bill to delete a passage banning funds for “any educational institution dedicated primarily to the education or training of ministers, priests, rabbis or other professional persons in the field of religion."
“There is no consensus among Garden State voters. Some see the use of taxpayer funds for religious schools as inappropriate, while others are more sanguine about the practice,” said poll director Krista Jenkins. “All schools would like a piece of the pie, and these findings underscore the difficulty of parsing how religiosity should factor into any decision regarding where the funds will go.”
The poll also found voters are divided on a bill that would reform the state’s alimony system by setting guidelines on how long ex-spouses should pay alimony rather than the current practice of letting a judge decide.
Forty percent oppose the legislation, while 33 percent support it and 26 percent aren’t sure.
“The complexity of determining financial support following a divorce is mirrored in
public attitudes,” Jenkins said. “Garden State voters support the practice of making someone support his or her ex, but they are not united in their opinion over the issue of lifetime alimony.”
The poll was conducted from June 10-16 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.