With some added interest in the U.S. Senate race between Bob Menendez vs. Bob Hugin, here are 10 things outsiders should know about New Jersey:
1. New Jersey has 918,850 more Democrats than Republicans. The Democratic edge at the start of the 21st century was 266,725.
2. New Jersey doesn’t have Independents, they’re called Unaffiliateds. And there are 158,268 more of them then there are Democrats.
3. New Jersey hasn’t elected a Republican to the United States Senate since 1972. Only Hawaii has gone longer without electing a GOP U.S. Senator.
4. New Jersey voters have not rejected an incumbent U.S. Senator in a general election since 1942. Only four states have gone longer: Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Vermont.1
5. New Jersey likes self-funders: Frank Lautenberg, Jon Corzine and Phil Murphy all won.
6. A Republican candidate needs an Ocean + Monmouth plurality to exceed Essex + Hudson — and carry Middlesex on top of that. Republicans also need to pick off Democratic-leaning counties like Bergen, Atlantic or Gloucester.
7. New Jersey is one of the bluest states in the country, but Democrats have not re-elected a governor in 40 years. Republicans have done in three times since then.
8. Polls traditionally show close statewide races. One example: 2004 Quinnipiac poll put George W. Bush in a statistical dead heat with John Kerry – tied on September 21 and Kerry up by three on October 6 – but Kerry won the state by 241,427.
9. Democrats have beaten out Republicans in voter registration in 11 of 12 congressional districts every month for the last decade.
10. The only person in New Jersey less popular than Donald Trump is Chris Christie.
1 Hawaii, which was admitted to the union in 1959, has never ousted an incumbent U.S. Senator.