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    Victory for Christie, But Youth Vote Tells a Different Story

    New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie claimed victory over Democratic state Senator Barbara Buono in last night’s gubernatorial election, securing his second term as governor. According to ABC News, Christie captured 60% of the vote while Buono received a mere 39%. Despite this landslide win for Christie, Buono still managed to capture certain voter demographics; specifically, the majority of votes from young people. MSNBC’s exit polls show Buono taking 51% of votes from people ages 18-29 compared to Christie’s 49%. While Christie won a landslide election, there is an evident — albeit marginal — trend amongst young voters in New Jersey: they are more likely to vote for a progressive candidate than a conservative.

    With that being said, this could put an interesting twist on the 2016 presidential election. Many people have argued that Christie’s victory as governor increases the likelihood of making a presidential bid (Source: NPR). However, the website www.270towin.com shows that New Jersey has not voted for the Republican candidate in a presidential election since 1988. MSNBC’s exit polls gave insight to the possible direction of the state in 2016. When asked (hypothetically) whether they would vote for Hillary Clinton (D) or Chris Christie (R) in the 2016 presidential election, 48% of voters chose Clinton, while 44% would cast their vote for Christie. According to NBC exit polls for the 2012 presidential election, young voters aged 18-29 made up 19% of total voters, with 60% voting for the Democratic candidate: President Barack Obama. Based on this information, people can infer that young voters in New Jersey would support the hypothetical candidate Hillary Clinton over Chris Christie in 2016.

    Last night, New Jerseyans also voted to increase the minimum wage to $8.25 an hour, a change from the $7.25 mandated by the federal government. According to The Washington Post, Governor Christie vetoed a bill that would have increased the state minimum wage to $8.50 an hour. In retaliation, the Democratic Senate decided to put the measure on the ballot and allow the people to choose directly. The Associated Press determined that nearly 61% of the electorate voted to increase the minimum wage.

    Before I came to college in Washington, DC, I lived in New Jersey. Many of my friends had to help pay their college tuitions by working minimum wage jobs. For them, it was barely enough. However, through our votes, we managed to change the system and help the state. Even though minimum wage was only raised a dollar, it will have a huge impact on my friends and will help them make more money to pay for college.

    In this election, my friends and I voted for the candidates that best supported our interests. Even though for some of us, our candidate did not win, we still went to the polls and exercised our rights to try and make a change. My friends and I are proof: that young people have the ability to change the world they live in by exercising their right to vote. 

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    Veronica Barger
    Bio: Veronica is currently studying communications, law, economics, and government at American University in Washington, DC. Originally from New Jersey, she has held an interest in politics since the 2008 presidential election. Being a newly registered voter, she understands how important it is for young people to register to vote and have their voices heard. She looks to spread that message with Rock the Vote.

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com

    3 Responses to “Victory for Christie, But Youth Vote Tells a Different Story”

    1. roc1 says:

      Time will show that the cult of personality that is Chris Christie will eventually wear thin. While many New Jersey voters were smitten with the jolly “everyman” persona presented by Christie compared to the somewhat relatively unpolished presentation of Ms. Buono, a review of the issues in relation to voter demographics indicate that most NJ voters disagree with Christie’s policies and agenda. Witness the override of the Christie veto of the minimum wage increase. Furthermore, as Ms. Buono correctly stated, with NJ lagging behind other regional states in job creation and general economic progress, with no property tax relief and no explanation as to why New Jerseyans pay some of the highest property taxes in the entire country, and with Hurricane Sandy reparations not occurring in any expeditious manner for thousands of still-stricken homeowners along the shore, Christie really has his sights set on other priorities in DC, not NJ. If the current governing strategy is any example, the damage being perpetuated by Chris Christie is certainly “stronger than the storm” and will linger far beyond the expiration of his next term. Good luck New Jersey – not sure how Christie was voted back into office with his record, but y’all still have a long road to recovery ahead of you.

    2. shoeless says:

      Um, an exit poll has a statistical significance with a +/- of upwards of 4%. Ergo, 51-49 in favor of Buono is within the the statistical margin for error (i.e. it is a dead heat). So saying Christie lost the youth vote is a patently false statement. Any college student should understand that.

      Also, why not make minimum wage $75/hr or $150 for that matter? If you believe there are no repercussions from rising wages, there should be no limit on how high we should make them. Wouldn’t you agree?

    3. roc1 says:

      Shoeless: the author wrote that there is an “evident – albeit marginal – trend” for young voters to vote for a Progressive, not that Christie lost the youth vote. The trend among young voters shifted from the last election, but is very likely attributable to the weakness of the Democratic candidate this time around and to the non-existant support she received from the state level democratic committee due to internal political strife. The author’s statements, nonetheless, are correct. Down 6% from 2009, the 18-29 year old vote, representing 10% of voters, still registered 51%. Similar negative shifts in demographics attributable to young voters, such as high school and some college eduaction, were similar. Given the cult of personality that Christie had developed, it’s not unreasonable for a more impressionable voter with a perception that they had less to lose in terms of taxation and economic lag, and less of an understanding of the reality of the damage caused by empty rhetoric, to vote for the popular and more heavily advertised candidate. So, read carefully before spewing your useless comment – everyone knows what an MOE is, that wasnt the point of the article.

      Regarding minimum wage, try living on $7.50/hour and see how “shoeless” you actually become. No one but you are sarcastically opining that any minimum wage increase is a bad thing. The reality, if you choose to accept it, was a vote to increase the rate $1.00 per hour. $8.25/hour is still poverty level, but at least it helps to maintain a minimum standard of living in the most densely populated state in the country with one of the highest costs of living. It increases consumer spending and boosts sales for businesses in the state. The question you shoudl be asking is: What are the repurcussions of maintaining a perpetual poverty class? That answer increases the cost of services to everyone. Get a grip shoeless, and maybe also some compassion for those in society who are struggling to move into a disappearing middle class- $1.00/hr is too much for you? There’s a sweatshop in the Far East with your name on it.