A majority of surveyed University of Connecticut undergraduate students said the economy and taxes are the issues that matter most to them in the upcoming gubernatorial election, according to the results of a poll conducted by The Daily Campus.
The poll surveyed 97 UConn students who are registered to vote in the State of Connecticut about the issues most important to them in the upcoming 2018 election for governor and the candidates they support, or would vote for, in November.
Although the sample’s representation could differ from that of the student body, the poll showed that over 70 percent of respondents viewed taxes, jobs and the overall economy to be most important to them. Respondents for the overall poll were approximately spread evenly between Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated students.
Second semester history major Brent St. Jacques said he is among the students who believe that Connecticut’s economy needs to be more friendly to residents, especially recent graduates.
“I’m looking for a governor that’s going to be able to ease up on taxes and keep businesses in the state,” St. Jacques said. “We need someone who is going to help increase economic opportunity so that college graduates don’t keep leaving the state.”
Eighth semester political science major Mike LaPorte said that in the voting booth this fall he too will be looking for someone who is committed to reducing unnecessary spending and cutting taxes.
“I’m looking for a Governor that will eliminate waste in our budget and lower our taxes, first and foremost,” LaPorte said. “I don’t want to be giving more money to my state government so it can be wasted somewhere else.”
LaPorte also said he wants a governor who will enact “intelligent policy,” citing CTfastrack’s operating deficit, which he considers to be a “ridiculous” policy. He also said that he’s looking for a governor who would legalize recreational marijuana, reinstate the death penalty and deregulate guns.
Aside from fiscal issues, some students also replied to the poll saying the most important issue to them included gun control, healthcare, racial equality, the opioid epidemic and recreational marijuana.
President of the UConn College Democrats Steven Della-Giustina said that although economic issues and jobs are important to him, he wants a governor who will be committed to enacting liberal policies.
“I’m looking for a governor that will ensure that young people can get jobs and affordable housing in Connecticut,” Della-Giustina said. “Furthermore, I’m looking for a Governor that has progressive policies such as affordable education, legalized marijuana and paid family medical leave. I really want to support a candidate that has demonstrated leadership and the ability to bring people together.”
The poll also asked students which specific candidates they support or would vote for in the election. The top responses included New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart, Ned Lamont and the option for none of the above.
LaPorte said that although he is not officially endorsing Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst for governor, he is able to support Herbst because he is a candidate who is not sugarcoating the state’s fiscal situation.
“I don’t want to be lied to about how bad our fiscal situation is, which is one of the things that turns me onto Tim Herbst,” LaPorte said.
Although LaPorte said he did not want to officially endorse any candidate in the primary at this moment, UConn College Republicans President Tim Sullivan has officially endorsed Republican candidate Peter Lumaj for the nomination for governor, according to Lumaj’s website.
Tuesday night the UConn College Republicans followed suit with a club endorsement of Lumaj, according to members of the organization. It is unclear whether the UConn College Democrats have endorsed a primary candidate at this time.
Andrew Miano is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.