Response by Stephen Salmore
The poll numbers show that this election will turn on the issue of property taxes. The problem facing candidates however is that the more voters are familiar with the tax issue, the more difficult it is for them to persuade voters that any plan will work or is fair. The whole point of most political campaigns is to inform voters, but the more informed voters become about this issue, the more skeptical they become about any of the proposed solutions.
Which candidate wins will most likely turn not on the specifics of the plan they propose or the policy recommendation that they make. Rather, it will depend on which candidate the voters put more trust in to solve the problem. The irony in this situation is that the candidate who has the vaguest and least detailed program may be more likely to generate voter support than the candidate who is most specific and detailed about how he would deal with the problem. The question this year's voters may be asking is "who do you trust" not "who do you agree with?"
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 co-author of Parties, Elections and Campaigns and New Jersey Government and Politics. Dr. Stephen Salmore can be reached at 973-292-3633.