Response to Gubernatorial Poll by Stephen Salmore
One question political analysts have been discussing is the impact of the terrorist attacks on the race for governor of New Jersey. One point of view is that it helped the front-runner. With the campaigns suspended for almost 3 weeks, Schundler, trailing McGreevey, has less time to make up the difference. McGreevey appears willing to simply sit on his lead and concentrate on not making mistakes rather than putting forth potentially controversial proposals.
Certainly the poll numbers indicate that the McGreevey lead continues virtually unchanged from early September although his favorable rating has slipped some.
Another point of view is that the hiatus in the campaign may end up helping Schundler. The political environment has changed in that partisanship has declined and the public's view of the Republican party can only have been improved by voters watching prominent Republican office-holders--President George Bush, Governor Pataki, Mayor Guiliani--decisively and competently deal with the aftermath of the attack.
In addition, McGreevey's numbers still do not clearly indicate a victory. His support numbers hover in the high 40s and low 50s which means that Schundler still has enough voters who are undecided or only weakly committed to McGreevey to win over by election day. Schundler's present weakness with Republicans and conservatives can be repaired by then and that alone will make him much more competitive.
Comment by Fairleigh Dickinson University Research Professor of Political Science, Stephen Salmore (Ph.D., Princeton University). Steve specializes in both national and New Jersey politics and presently operates Raritan Associates, Inc. He is a co-founder of the Eagleton Poll and co-author of Parties, Elections and Campaigns and New Jersey Government and Politics.
Dr. Stephen Salmore can be reached at 973-292-3633