Tag Archive: Independents

Will “pay to play” sink Bergen Democrats?

Last night, you hopefully had a chance to listen to Bergen County Freeholder candidate Camille Abate on Blue Jersey Radio talking about her independent candidacy for Freeholder.  Or, earlier this week, you may have seen or read about the Bergen County Freeholder debate, where pay-to-play was been one of the big issues.

What is interesting here is that while Abate, a lifelong Democrat running as an independent, Green Party candidate Irwin Nack and at least one of the Republican candidates (Maura DeNicola) are in favor of strict pay-to-play reforms, the three Democratic incumbents didn’t have much to say on the issue.  What is more interesting is that the two “new” Republican Freeholders were pushing for pay-to-play reform over the past year – only to be rebuffed by many of the sitting Democratic Freeholders.  So an issue that, in Abate’s words, “the Republicans invented and the Democrats perfected”, has become one that may flip the Bergen County Freeholders from a 7-0 Democratic domination to only two Democrats left after the election.

A video on the issue for Camille (disclaimer:  I created the video) is below, with more commentary below the fold:

(more below)

Patrick Murray on Understanding New Jersey Unaffiliated Voters

Pollster Patrick Murray of Monmouth University has written about this before, and I’ve quoted it before, but it’s still worthwhile to remind ourselves, as Murray does today, that registered “unaffliated” voters are not the same as “independent” voters. About 45% of New Jersey registered voters are not registered with a major party but that doesn’t mean 45% of voters are independents.

There are two key facts that mean that the percentage of registered “unaffiliated” voters are larger than the actual vote by “independents.”

1. Many people who are registered “unaffiliated” consider themselves Democrats or Republicans:

Being “unaffiliated” in one’s registration is not the same as being “independent” in one’s thinking. We consistently find that at least 1-in-5 unaffiliated New Jersey voters actually see themselves as partisan.

This is a byproduct of New Jersey’s semi-open primary system. Why bother registering with a party if you can wait until primary day and do it on the spot? And why bother to vote in primaries if they are rarely competitive? So, New Jersey ends up with a lot of “party-line” voters who never bother to register with their preferred party. They just see no need.

2. Registered unaffiliated voters are less likely to actually vote:

Last year, unaffiliated voters made up 38% of the electorate even though they comprised 47% of registered voters. In other words, while more than 8-in-10 registered Republican and Democratic voters showed up last November, only 6-in-10 unaffiliated voters turned out.

This disparity is even larger in non-presidential years (i.e. like this year). In the 2006 election for U.S. Senate, about 7-in-10 registered partisans showed up, but only 1-in-3 unaffiliateds did. And that was when unaffiliated voters made up 58% of the voter rolls. My guess is that many of those folks probably voted in the 2008 presidential primary and are now registered with a party. Therefore, I wouldn’t be surprised if the unaffiliated turnout is even lower this year.


Suffolk Poll: Corzine leads by 9 statewide, by 11 in key bellwether

Suffolk University has just released a new poll of New Jersey. This one has 400 likely voters (358 “very likely” and 42 “somewhat likely”) and is the only one to include “all 12 candidates whose names are printed on the ballot.” They find great numbers for Governor Corzine:

Though most polls are showing the New Jersey governor’s race to be dead even between incumbent Democratic Governor Jon Corzine and former U.S. Attorney and Republican challenger Chris Christie, a new poll by Suffolk University signals that Corzine (42 percent) leads comfortably over Christie (33 percent), with independent Chris Daggett trailing with 7 percent.  Three percent of voters selected among the other nine independent candidates listed on the ballot, and 14 percent were undecided…

Undecided voters were breaking to Corzine as well.  When initial undecided voters were asked whom they would vote for if they were standing in the voting booth right now, 25 percent chose Corzine, 15 percent Christie, 2 percent Daggett, and 55 percent remained undecided.

Daggett’s 7% is significantly worse than other polls, which they suggest is due to the other names. This, after all, does reflect the actual ballot, so perhaps they are right. 56% of Daggett voters say they may change their minds, which is in line with other polls. Suffolk also notes that 66% of voters think Jersey is on the “wrong track” so it’s not somehow picking up a odd group of optimists. Obama is at 62-30 favorable-unfavorable, but the question asks about Obama rather than job approval, so a higher score is not unexpected.

Looking at the numbers, we’ve seen 42% for Corzine before, but the big result is the Christie collapse. I’m sure we’ll get a lot of polls this week (PPP and R2K, for sure) so we’ll see if they also find Christie in the mid-30s. By the way, if you think asking all twelve candidate is annoying, apparently you’re not alone:

When likely voters were asked if they preferred fewer choices on their ballot, 66 percent said yes, and 34 percent said no.

Suffolk also polled 350 additional voters in Gloucester County, and they again got great numbers for Corzine:

The 2009 New Jersey bellwether of Gloucester County showed Corzine leading Christie 41 percent to 30 percent, with Daggett getting 11 percent.  However, Daggett is listed third on the Gloucester county ballots, right after Corzine and Christie, which may account for a slightly higher number than in the statewide poll, since Daggett is listed lower on the ballot in many of the other counties.  In the 2005 New Jersey governor’s race, each candidate’s Gloucester County results were within 1 percent of their statewide numbers.  Bellwether samples are designed to predict outcomes — not margins — and to supplement the Suffolk statewide polls.

In 2008, Suffolk University bellwethers were 95 percent accurate in predicting straight-up winners in both Democratic and Republican primaries, and, when in agreement with the statewide Suffolk polls of the respective states, were 100 percent accurate in predicting straight-up winners.

Will Daggett’s voters stick with him? PPP says yes

Pollster Tom Jensen of PPP has an interesting post asking “Will Daggett hold his support?” He decided to check how similar candidates did in other states:

Polls released this week, three weeks before the election, have shown Daggett at an average of 14%. I decided to look at all the independent or third party candidates who have received at least 5% of the vote in a Gubernatorial contest since 2006 and see where they were polling roughly three weeks prior to election day and how that compared to their final share of the vote.

You can look at his compilation of poll data and election results, but the conclusion is:

With the exception of Kinky Friedman none of the candidates did more than a point worse than they were doing in the polls three weeks before the election. On average they even did a little more than a point better.

In another post he argues that if Daggett’s voters abandon him, it’s only worth a point or so. That, however, is about the size of Christie’s lead today.

The FDU Poll: Corzine must be feeling sick

I think Governor Corzine must be feeling sick after reading the latest FDU PublicMind poll of New Jersey. Not because he’s trailing Christie 39-45 in poll — He’s used to that by now, and it’s better than the other four June polls, though I’d chalk that up to chance. No, it’s because FDU looking into how New Jersey voters would handle the budget:

Most voters accept the tax increases contained in the new budget. A majority (55%) say it’s a good idea to eliminate the property-tax deduction on state income tax for those earning more than $250,000, while 37% say it’s a bad idea. These numbers have turned around sharply since April when voters were asked about making the cut-off $150,000. In that case, two-thirds (66%) were opposed. In addition, 64% say increasing taxes on wine and liquor is a good idea to raise money for the state; 31% say it’s a bad idea. A majority (56%) say that it’s a good idea to limit property tax rebates to senior citizens and others making less than $75,000. A majority (52%) say it’s a good idea to force state workers to take nine unpaid days off, while 40% say it’s a bad idea. And 50% say eliminating 7,000 state jobs is a bad idea; an idea that was dropped from the budget considerations.

Yes, after telling the pollster that New Jersey’s on the wrong track, that they disapprove of Corzine’s performance, that they’re not going to vote for him, and even that he is not honest, a significant number of people turn around and support his policies. The cross-tabs reveal that independents, who have 21% support for Corzine and 45% support for Christie in this poll, are more likely than not to support Corzine’s policies.

I’d think this contradiction would make Corzine feel sick: rejected by independents for making the very cuts they support. Then again, maybe the ex-Marine who rose to the top of the cut-throat worlds of Finance and Politics is made of tougher stuff than me.  Maybe he sees that a replay of 1977 is possible since the public supports Corzine’s imperfect solutions, just as voters went for Brendan Byrne’s solutions over Raymond Batemen’s once they thought it all through. I hope so.

It’s the Principle

For those who don’t know me, I’m the Independent who ran against Aronsohn and Garrett in the Fifth.  I haven’t commented or put up a diary before, but thought it appropriate in light of DottieG’s diary and ensuing conversation deriding people like myself and those who vote for us.  This started out as a comment and turned into a “novel”, but if you have the time give it a read; I come in peace.