Go Ahead, Throw Your Vote Away: Why Voters Chose Co-dependence over Independence in New Jersey

NJ Voices features a column by David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, exploring why Chris Daggett's independent gubernatorial campaign in New Jersey failed to win out over those of Democrat Jon Corzine and Republican Chris Christie:
First, the Republicans began a significant assault on Daggett, telling voters that a vote for Daggett was wasted. In effect it would be a vote for Gov. Jon Corzine. Second, voters had second thoughts, not about Daggett himself, but about whether he could win . . .

Nearly half (45 percent) of Daggett supporters who abandoned him said they did so because he could not win. Another 18 percent said it was that they didn’t know enough about him, and 15 percent said they decided to vote with their own party. It seems clear that the message that an independent cannot win in New Jersey got through even to those who were inclined to support Daggett in October. Finally, for those who did vote for Daggett, the vote was not a rousing endorsement of him, but instead a repudiation of the other candidates . . .

When the pitch was made that a vote for Daggett was a wasted vote, most gritted their teeth and voted for a major candidate. The irony of course is that had they voted for Daggett, it would have shown that an independent can get close, perhaps encouraging future independent candidates.

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