What motivated you to vote in the NJ?
It may be some time before a winner is officially declared in the New Jersey gubernatorial race, but we’re taking a closer look at what drove people to the polls on Tuesday.
As I counted the votes last night on air for New Jersey 101.5, I also had the chance to speak with voters about what motivated them to vote this year.
Pandemic issues were certainly a big factor, but wallet issues were also a key factor. We have seen taxes emerge as the number one problem in pre-election polls. Affordability issues were often cited in my conversations with listeners last night. A caller, a truck driver, told me he already had a house in Florida and if Murphy was re-elected he would likely leave because he feared he couldn’t afford to stay here.
I also spoke with many of you who were motivated by some hotly contested local races. So-called top-down ballot races, like school boards, appear to have increased the number of votes in many districts of New Jersey.
Whether it’s mask warrants, fear of a vaccine warrant, or program issues like critical race theory and LGBTQ + lessons, a good number of callers say it’s which motivated them to vote on Tuesday. Some admitted that they had not voted for some time and were returning to the voting booth to vote for the school board candidates.
These education issues generally favor Republicans, in terms of the vote, and that could be in part responsible for some of the large numbers of GOPs we were seeing in some counties, including Monmouth, Ocean and Bergen.
Quite a few young voters also called last night to say they were engaged. It’s good to see and hear.
While the majority of callers last night indicated strong support for Jack Ciattarelli, Phil Murphy has his supporters as well. A woman from Camden, for example, cited Murphy’s handling of the COVID crisis as the reason she gave him her vote. This matches poll data which showed most New Jersey residents gave Murphy high marks for his pandemic policies.
What does all this mean? Regardless of how the callers voted, it showed an engaged audience who were passionate about an election for the first time in many years. This will likely be reflected in the number of participants. It also shows that a large number of New Jersey residents aren’t quite ready to give up living in Great Garden State.
Regardless of how the election is ultimately decided, it may have been the best thing to do last night.