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NJ Elections Generate Little Buzz [POLL/AUDIO]

There’s a governor’s race in New Jersey that will be decided on Nov. 5., and three weeks before that in an Oct. 16 special election, Garden State voters will decide who should be the state’s next U.S. Senator. Are you fired up about either race? You’re in the minority if you are.

Gov. Chris Christie
Andrew Burton, Getty Images

“The end of the summer used to mean people are back from vacation, they’re back at work and now suddenly they’re magically paying attention to the election,” said Peter Woolley, a political science professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

People may be back from vacation and back to work, but it doesn’t seem they’re very interested in any election. In his reelection bid GOP Gov. Chris Christie is taking on Democratic State Sen. Barbara Buono. In the U.S. Senate race, Newark mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat, is running against former Bogota mayor Steve Lonegan. Christie and Booker both enjoy huge leads in recent polls.

“You have two celebrity candidates who are really in the lead and they’re going up against relatively unknown people,” said Woolley. “The fact is that the opponents, whatever their merits simply aren’t well known. So, you have two celebrity people who aren’t being given much of a fight.”

Another reason for the lack of buzz this election season according to Woolley is candidates with huge leads tend to be cautious and they make sure not to make big mistakes. That doesn’t exactly generate excitement amongst the electorate.

“Their best strategy is the boa constrictor strategy,” explained Woolley. “If you try to demonstrate that you’re the obvious winner you dry up your opponents cash and that makes it that much more difficult for your opponent to gain any ground unless of course you trip and fall.”

All 120 seats in the legislature are also up for grabs on Nov. 5. Redistriciting after the 2010 U.S. Census all but eliminated competitive legislative races so those campaigns are getting much interest either.

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