Taxes No. 1 Gripe in New Jersey; Poll's 'Unprecedented' Finding Colors Senate Race

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Byline: Donald Lambro, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

New Jersey voters say the most serious problem confronting their state isn't the war in Iraq, immigration or the budget deficit, it is taxes on their property, purchases and at the gas pump.

This was the overwhelming response to an open-ended poll question that allowed respondents to give any answer they chose. No other issue not the economy, education, crime, health care, government spending or even the tide of illegal immigration even came close, according to the Quinnipiac University poll.

When asked, "What do you think is the most important problem facing New Jersey today?" 46 percent replied taxes a percentage that was higher than any problem listed in any previous Quinnipiac statewide or national poll, the survey group said. The 46 percent included 19 percent who complained about all taxes, 26 percent who said property taxes, and 1 percent who said gas taxes.

"Almost half of New Jersey voters, an unprecedented number, say taxes are the biggest problem facing the state, and most of them mean property taxes," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

That response has deep political implications for Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, who ignited a taxpayer revolt with a proposal to raise the state sales tax to 7 percent, as well as in the U.S. Senate race, where Republican state Sen. Thomas Kean Jr. is making taxes a major issue in his bid to oust Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez in November.

Mr. Kean's campaign strategists think voter anger over the sales-tax increase plan and rising property-tax assessments, combined with Mr. …