The news in Japan reported a bit about both the Virginia and New Jersey elections, picking up on the story line that the Democratic losses there had something to do with people’s feelings about the Obama Administration. One of the newscasters pointed out that the President’s popularity has fallen from the high 60’s to about 50% over the year.
I don’t know about Virginia, but what did Governor Corzine in in New Jersey were three things:
1) the housing bubble’s effect on real estate taxes in the state, which now average $7,000 a house. (You read that right.) Since New Jersey is #1 in the nation for property taxes, a bubble like the 2000-2007 one would have the biggest tax impact there. Especially when the business (commercial) properties weren’t part of the bubble.
2) lingering resentment to the Governor’s proposal to raise Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike highway tolls. It’s clear that the people in those counties that rely on those highways didn’t forget.
3) JOBS! Even though Corzine did not cause the recession, people without look at all the state workers–including in education–and wonder how much tax money of theirs is going to fund someone else’s good thing. Especially when it seems like the money is going to Newark and Camden.
The Republicans played the themes they have done for 40 years in New Jersey, and pulled out a victory.
[Update: Here is the drop-off in Corzine support between Election ’05 and yesterday in those counties:
Ocean County (down 14.7%, 107k to 89 k); Monmouth County (down 14.3%, 85k to 64k); and Middlesex (down 13.2%, 72k to 53 1/2 k).
Sure, the map shows that Corzine was down throughout suburban New Jersey, but he took his biggest hit in Parkway communities.]