BY Mayte Figueroa-Camilo
As of press time, the results of the 2018 Connecticut gubernatorial election, held on Nov. 6, are not yet known.
The two major candidates for governor of Connecticut are Democratic businessman Ned Lamont and Republican businessman Bob Stefanowski.
In April of last year, the Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy announced that he will not seek re-election for a third term in 2018, according to ballotperiod.org. The 2018 Connecticut gubernatorial election will elect the next person to replace Malloy.
“It’s significant because elections have consequences and it makes a huge difference particularly more now than probably in any other time in the last 50 years insofar as which party is in power,” said Dr. Gary Rose, professor and chair in the Department of Government.
As of Oct. 23, according to a Sacred Heart University poll sponsored by Hearst Connecticut Media Group, the governor’s race has been almost tied with Lamont’s 40 percent to Stefanowski’s 36 percent.
“We have two polls in a row that are showing that this is a toss-up,” said Rose.
According to an earlier poll by Quinnipiac University, released on Oct. 10, due to a 22-percentage point lead among women in the governor’s race, Lamont had a lead of 47 percent to 39 percent of likely voters over Stefanowski.
Sacred Heart’s poll also reported a major gender gap in the governor’s race. 50 percent of female voters said they support Lamont compared to Stefanowski’s 25.2 percent of female voters.
Connecticut’s taxes and budget situation are two of the main issues that may influence the result of the election.
“The polls that have been conducted show that the paramount issue in this campaign is tax reform,” said Rose.
In response to the fiscal crisis, Stefanowski proposed zero-based budgeting and tax cut policies and Lamont proposed a property tax relief plan for the middle class, according to their campaigns.
“Stefanowski is absolutely confident that he can cut at least five to ten percent out of the state operating budget,” said Rose.
As reported by his campaign, Stefanowski’s economic plan includes tax cuts for corporate and state incomes. He believes lower income taxes will bring back companies and jobs to Connecticut.
“His plan is probably going to roll taxes back and that probably is
going to have consequences for education spending and a lot of other public services,” said Rose.
Lamont’s campaign reported that an increase in highway tolls will help pay for improvements on the major roads in Connecticut.
Sacred Heart’s poll showed that 52.1 percent of Connecticut voters reported to agree with this proposal.
Other likely voters have a different stance on Lamont’s infrastructure plan.
“Bringing jobs back to CT is really important, because it’s expensive to live here. Adding tolls is just going to make it worse,” said junior Lindsey Dell’Isola.
“We are in a state now where there is very little compromise between the parties,” said Rose. “Do we want Ned Lamont who is a continuation of Malloy or do we want Bob Stefanowski who is in line with Trump’s policies?”
Quinnipiac’s poll reported that supporting a candidate who shares their opinion of President Donald Trump is important to 65 percent of likely voters, as compared to 35 percent of voters who say it’s important if the candidate shares their opinion of Malloy.
“Students should participate because it matters which party comes to power and it has direct consequences for public policy, which affect their lives,” said Rose.
For sophomore Nancy Tonacatl-Cuatzo, the elected governor must be active in social policies.
“I am going to base my vote on a more democratic view. Ned Lamont shows more support towards his community. Lamont is helping with big issues that I am very invested in such as education, because we need to improve our education systems,” said Tonacatl-Cautzo.
“Education policy is right in the forefront of the difference between what could happen depending on who is elected,” said Rose.
“Voting in this election is a powerful way to influence change. It’s up to you students to bring your convictions to the voting booth,” said Mary Luongo, professor in the Department of Catholic Studies.