New Jersey voters on Tuesday rejected borrowing $450 million to pay for stem cell research grants in the state for 10 years.

The rejection was a defeat for Democratic Gov. Jon S. Corzine, who campaigned heavily for the measure. He argued the money would help find cures for conditions such as spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's disease, sickle cell anemia and multiple sclerosis while also luring leading scientists and research firms to the state.

But the measure was opposed by anti-abortion activists, conservatives and the Roman Catholic Church because it would pay for research that destroys human embryos and would increase state debt.

"It's a reinforcement of our values and a rebuke to the governor," said Steve Lonegan, a conservative Republican who led opposition to the question. "The taxpayers are saying enough is enough."