A new Quinnipiac University poll shows Ted Cruz with a 3-point lead – a statistical dead heat – in his bid for re-election to a second term in the United States Senate. If recent polling is accurate, that means Democrats have a better chance of picking up a Senate seat in Texas than they do of losing one in New Jersey. A March Quinnipiac poll shows incumbent Bob Menendez with a 17-point lead over Republican Bob Hugin.
Texas and New Jersey are apples and oranges, but it drives home some interesting points about the New Jersey electorate:
* New Jersey has not sent a Republican to the United States Senate since 1972. Only Hawaii (1970) has gone longer, or in other words, 48 states have sent a Republican to the United States Senate since the last time New Jersey did it. Over the last 50 years, Democrats are 17-1 in U.S. Senate races.
* Over the last 50 years, Republicans are 7-6 in races for Governor of New Jersey. Voters have not re-elected a Democratic governor since 1977; Republicans have done it three times since then.
* Democratic candidates have carried New Jersey in the last seven presidential elections (1992 through 2016). The state voted for a Republican president in the six elections before that.
* New Jersey has 891,461 more Democrats than Republicans: 2,139,201 to 1,247,740. The state gained 186,783 new Democrats since November 2009, when Republican Chris Christie was elected governor.
* 40.9% of New Jersey voters are unaffiliated with any party – outsiders call them Independents. In November 2001, when Republicans last had a governor and majorities in both houses of the Legislature, that number was 54.9%. Democrats had a 25.3%-19.5% edge in voter registration; today it’s 38.8% Democratic, 21.5% Republican.