Underfunded and outflanked in digital and television campaigning, Republican Jack Ciattarelli has nonetheless closed in on New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, in the closing days of the race in that state.
According to a Trafalgar poll completed over the weekend, Murphy leads former legislator Ciattarelli by 49% to 45% among likely voters statewide — the closest the two have been since the race began.
Trafalgar's figures came on the heels of a Rutgers University poll showing Murphy with a lead of 50% to 42% over Ciattarelli.
Few in the punditocracy are predicting a Republican upset in a state Joe Biden carried by 15 percentage points a year ago. No one is doubting, however, that the contest once considered a ''walk'' for Murphy a few months ago will be close.
This is in large part due to taxes rising and the size of government growing on Murphy's watch. Although lower-income wage-earners have benefited from the state's expanded Earned Income Tax Credit and have thus paid less in taxes, the top earners in the Garden State have seen an increase in the taxes on the highest wage-earners from 8.97% to 10.75%.
In addition, a surcharge on taxes paid by New Jersey's top-earning business was established and made permanent.
An Emerson Poll that was conducted two weeks ago and showed Murphy leading Ciattarelli by 50% to 44% also showed that half of New Jersey voters felt that taxes were the most important issue, followed by 16% who said jobs were most important and 13% who cited health issues as most important.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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