TRENTON, N.J. – New Jersey voters remain evenly divided over whether Gov. James E. McGreevey (search) should resign immediately or remain in office until Nov. 15, according to a new poll released Wednesday.
In the Quinnipiac University poll, 46 percent of voters said McGreevey should leave office immediately, while 48 percent said he should wait until the November deadline he set for himself.
Fifty percent of those surveyed believe McGreevey will be unable to lead the state effectively after announcing that he had an extramarital affair with a man.
McGreevey told the world on Aug. 12 that he is "a gay American" and that he planned to resign because his extramarital affair with a man left him and the governor's office open to possible threats.
McGreevey, however, said he needed to say in office for three more months to smooth the transition for Senate President Richard J. Codey (search). Codey, who like McGreevey is a Democrat, will serve as acting governor until McGreevey's term expires in January 2006.
If McGreevey were to leave office before Sept. 3, a special election would be held in November to elect a replacement.
The Quinnipiac poll findings are consistent with those of two other polls released last week, which found New Jerseyans split over what McGreevey should do.
For voters, a candidate's sexual orientation does not appear to matter. Seventy-eight percent said they would have no problem voting for an openly gay candidate.
Quinnipiac surveyed 887 registered voters from Aug. 19 to 23. The poll has a sampling error margin of plus of minus 3 percent.
Some state Democrats, fearful that the scandal would widen and damage the party, pressed for McGreevey to leave early and allow U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine to run in a special election.
Corzine said Tuesday that he was prepared to run if McGreevey agreed to resign early, but he respects McGreevey's decision to stay in office until November. He reiterated those remarks in a television appearance Wednesday morning.