In the final days of the NJ governor's race, these are the issues that Rutgers students are prioritizing
Murphy currently maintains a 14-point lead over Guadagno in the polls
It is officially November. Fall is in full swing, and for those who stay informed regarding state and local politics, that can only mean one thing — New Jersey is on track to hold its gubernatorial election next week.
On Nov. 7, registered voters will head to the polls to cast their ballot in the vote for governor. Taking into account third party candidates, there are seven candidates in the running, but the competition has been primarily dominated by Democrat Phil Murphy and his Republican opponent Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R-N.J.), according to NJ Advanced Media.
The latest poll of likely voters
With a new governor on the way, many New Jerseyans may research potential candidates and their views. Yet a problem has arisen during this election — it is barely getting any attention. In fact, NJ Advanced Media reported that 53 percent of likely voters do not know Murphy's stance on the issues, while 57 percent said the same about Guadagno.
Two important issues in the upcoming election, according to students at Rutgers University, are environmentalism and marijuana legalization.
New Jersey is unique in that the gubernatorial election is held in an off-year, rather than during the same year as national elections. Prior to changes to the state constitution in 1994, the governor served a term of only three years.
This stipulation was reportedly written into the state constitution to insulate local elections from national politics.
This election can be seen in many ways as a litmus test on the current state of national politics, though voter turnout is expected to be low.
Recently, Murphy took a stand against President Donald J. Trump’s threat to crack down on "sanctuary cities" by declaring that if he were elected, Murphy would make New Jersey a "sanctuary state," The Daily Targum reported. In turn, Guadagno has used his statement to make a series of ads, claiming that Murphy is soft on immigration issues.
Of the likely voters registered in the Garden State, exit polls from the presidential election show that nearly 20 percent were from the age group 18-29.
This is why Rutgers students are expected to have such a notable impact on the election's outcome.
Genevieve Tarino is a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior studying environmental policy, institutions and behavior. She said the issues most important to her this election are obvious given her field of study.
“The most important topics in this election are environmental issues and recreational marijuana legalization,” Tarino said. “Our economy doesn’t exist without a functioning and
In terms of legalizing recreational marijuana, Tarino said the state needs to get on board now to give New Jersey a good stake in the growing industry. She said the tax revenue that the state can bring in is enormous and will eventually benefit all parties involved in the long term.
Matthew Choucrallah is a School of Criminal Justice junior at Rutgers—Newark, and believes that the most important issues in the gubernatorial election are environmental issues and that New Jersey needs to develop a green economy in order to be self-sustainable in the future.
“For me, the most important changes I want to see come out of this election are regarding environmental initiatives, drug laws and education
He elaborated further on his views of the state's education policy, which is also a hot topic among students at the U
“The budget should allow more spending for education on the
While some support specific policy ideas like plans to mitigate student debt with federal funding or additional environmental regulations on corporations, other students are not quite so sure what they want out of this election.
Nicole Malzone is a School of Nursing senior who said she is not quite sure what is actually important this election.
“To be honest, I’m not too familiar with the issues currently being debated between the two candidates, but I do know that we need to clean up Christie’s
Students decisively trend toward the Democratic Party, and Murphy is leading in polls, but in the past, polls have been incorrect. Considering this is an off-year election, many may wonder if students and young people will vote in large numbers.
“I'll be voting for Murphy because I'm a sucker for the progressive and environmentally friendly platforms championed by
Choucrallah echoed a similar view.
“I’m voting for (Murphy)
Students can check their local polling location for a time schedule and additional information.