For better or worse, the New Jersey system of having three legislators from two different chambers is what we have to work with. And because resources are scarce, legislators tend to run as teams each election cycle. That can complicate candidates' chances especially when they don't match up with their team mates.
A case in point is Legislative District 16, where conservative Assemblywoman Donna Simon was defeated for re-election by 70 votes -- simply because Republican turnout was anemic. District 16 would be a dream district for Republicans in most states, where the GOP has captured and held solidly Democrat, union-dominated, and gritty urban districts by generating a high turnout among Pro-Second Amendment, Pro-Life, and Traditional Values conservatives. A solo Donna Simon would have crushed a far-left candidate like Andrew Zwicker, who would be an anomaly in most of America.
This will be a problem again in 2017, when consultants and strategists get down to fashioning a campaign plan into which 3 different candidates can fit. They often have to knock all the hard edges off some candidates to make them match the smoothest of their running mates -- but what they are often left with fails to motivate Republican issue voters.
That's a pity, because support for core Republican issues is hardening. Take the gun issue as an example. Fresh data from the Rasmussen Polling organization finds that 75% of likely voters in America now say the right to bear arms is important, with 54% who say it is "Very important." That up from 68% who said it was important three years ago, including 49% who said it was "Very important."
And for those NJ GOP aficionados who still believe that they can get through a contested primary being on the wrong side of this issue, check this out: 76% of Republicans believe the "Right to Bear Arms" is "Very important" -- with another 18% thinking it "Somewhat important." Independents break 63% (Very Important) to 19% (Somewhat important). Even a majority of Democrats believe that the "Right to Bear Arms" is important -- 26% (Very important) and 25% (Somewhat important).
68% of voters say they would feel safer living in a neighborhood where they can own a gun rather than one where no one could have a gun for their own protection. This breaks out for Republicans as 81% (own guns) to 16% (no guns), Independents 71% (own guns) to 14% (no guns), and Democrats 53% (own guns) to 37% (no guns).
A New York Daily News/Rasmussen poll released yesterday finds that 61% of American Adults agree with the statement, "The NRA supports gun policies that make all Americans safer." This includes 35% who Strongly Agree. In the same poll, by 51% to 38% Americans say that "more gun control is more likely to make it harder for law-abiding citizens to purchase a gun rather than keep guns out of the hands of criminals, people with mental illness and suspected terrorists."
And despite the efforts of Democrat critters like Vinnie Prieto and Steve Sweeney, 69% of likely voters believe the shooting incident in California last week is a terrorism issue, vs. 20% who think it a gun issue. GOP PRIMARY WARNING: Among GOP voters those numbers are 86% to 7%.
Political Correctness goes down big too. 83% of Americans say it is more important for the United States to guarantee freedom of speech than it is to make sure nothing is done to offend other nations and cultures. Similarly, 82% think it is more important to give people the right to free speech than it is to make sure no one is offended by what others say. 71% of Americans see political correctness as "a problem" -- for Republicans that rises to 85%, Independents are a strong 74%, and even Democrats post a healthy 58% who believe that P.C. is a problem.
Use the data and begin now to fashion bold campaigns for 2017.