Assemblyman John McKeon (D-West Orange) jumped on today’s Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey poll that showed the $400 million open space bond referendum with a 23 point lead in the polls.
“The poll results indicate that our message of the benefits of open space – especially its economic advantages – is resonating with New Jersey citizens,” said McKeon, who chairs the Environment and Solid Waste Committee and is the ballot question’s prime sponsor.
McKeon said that he is “confident an increasing number will support the open space ballot question on Nov. 3.”
Voters in 2007 rejected two out of three ballot initiatives, even though polls showed them leading in late October.
For instance, an October 25, 2007 Eagleton poll found voters supporting a $450 million bond issue to finance stem cell research by a 57%-36% margin. On election day, the measure was defeated. Voters that year did approve a ballot measure to borrow $200 million to fund open space, however, and have voted to support open space ballot questions 13 times since 1961.
Conservative activist and former Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Steve Lonegan – who was one of the most vocal opponents of the ballot questions last year – said he’s confident that this year’s open space question will be defeated. Recent news about a $200 million revenue shortfall won’t help it, Lonegan said.
“I’m working on a number of levels here, the big one being that we cannot afford to borrow $400 million,” said Lonegan. “As we educate voters about the truth of this borrowing and all the misrepresentations and all the scams that take place, I’m confident we’ll defeat it.”