Italian American men in New Jersey are more likely to be Republican and to support Donald Trump’s return to the presidency than other white New Jerseyan, according to a new Fairleigh Dickinson University poll released this morning.
“Today, Italians have been fully assimilated into American society,” said poll director Dan Cassino, a professor of Government and Politics. “But at least in New Jersey, they continue to be a distinct voting bloc.”
Nearly six-in-ten (57%) of Italian men identify as Republicans, with 28% saying they consider themselves Democrats. Among Italian women, 42% say they’re Democrats, and 33% said they were Republicans.
Among white, non-Italian men in New Jersey, it’s 45% Republican, 31% Democrat. Half of the state’s non-Italian white women (50%) are Democrats, and 38% are Republican.
“The fact that we see a gap among Italian American men, but not women, tells us that this isn’t about socio-economics, education or other differences,” said Cassino. “This is about how Italian American men are being socialized, and how that shapes their politics.”
In 2020, Italian men from New Jersey say they voted for Trump over Joe Biden by a 59%-28% margin. But Biden won Italian women by a margin of 47%-30%. Among white, non-Italian men, Trump led Biden, 45%-37%; Biden outpolled Trump among white, non-Italian women by six points, 46%-40%.
“We could argue about why Trump seems to do such a good job of appealing to Italian American men,” said Cassino. “But whether the appeal is about blue-collar jobs, or masculinity, or just a matter of style, it’s working.”
A majority of Italian Americans from New Jersey (51%) support legal abortion under certain circumstances, while 40% say it should always be legal and 6% indicate abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. Among Italian men, the numbers go from 51% to 59% who think abortion should be legal under circumstances.
U.S. Census data shows that New Jersey has lost one million Italian Americans since 2000, a decrease 64% over a ten-year period.
“Italians, like other groups of whites in New Jersey, are shrinking as a share of the population,” said Cassino. “Between aging and moving, in twenty years, there are going to be a lot fewer Italians in the state.”