Category Archives: Cory Booker

A Closer Look by the ECPIP Staff … Senator Cory Booker: On the Rise to 2016?

As we gear up for our next Rutgers-Eagleton Poll – the big 200th in 44 years of polling New Jersey! – our student staff takes a closer look at some of the data from our October survey that we have not yet had a chance to fully explore.

Senator Cory Booker: On the Rise to 2016?

By Evan Covello

Evan Covello is a sophomore at Rutgers University. Evan is a research assistant with the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling and the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.

***

With only a few months to go until the primaries are underway, speculation regarding potential running mates will be heating up as the parties narrow down their fields. New Jersey’s own U.S. Senator Cory Booker, has emerged as a potential 2016 running mate for Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who currently leads the national polls for the Democratic nomination. As such, it is a good time for us to revisit Sen. Booker’s numbers – at least within his home state.

In his home state of New Jersey, 54 percent of registered voters have a favorable opinion of Senator Booker, with only 21 percent unfavorable toward him. Race influences Booker’s high favorability; Booker’s favorability is higher among those who identify as being non-white (59 percent) as opposed to those who identify as white (52 percent). Specifically, 80 percent of those who identify as black are favorable of Senator Booker, with only 8 percent saying they are unfavorable.

Age is also a large factor in Booker’s high favorability. Those who fall between the ages of 18-29 are favorable of Senator Booker at 51 percent, with 13 percent unfavorable, and 36 percent responding that they have no opinion or do not know. Although Booker’s favorability rises with age, so do negative feelings toward him, and the gap between those who view him favorably and unfavorably decreases. For example, those 50-64 years old have a higher favorability of Senator Booker (54 percent), but 26 percent are unfavorable – a 28-point gap, compared to a 38-point gap among millennials. Millennials – who, just like the Senator, are know for their tech savvy ways – have been a key demographic for Sen. Booker during his time in New Jersey.

Another demographic that one would normally expect to be a large support base for Democratic candidates would be women. The Center for American Women and Politics addresses the issue of the gender gap between the two political parties, showing that women are more likely to register as Democrats than as Republicans and are more likely to register as Democrats than men. With Booker being a Democrat, we would expect support among women to be a strong factor in his high level of favorability. Gender is not statistically significant for Sen. Booker, however, as there is very little difference between men (53 percent) and women (54 percent) who are favorable toward him.

With strong ratings throughout New Jersey – especially among those groups that make up a large portion of the Democratic base – Sen. Booker may be a great addition to a Clinton presidential ticket for 2016, especially with key demographics.

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Filed under 2016 President, Cory Booker, Hillary Clinton, Uncategorized

Some other Favorability Ratings in NJ

In most of our regular Rutgers-Eagleton Polls we usually have a few additional questions that do not make it into one of our press releases. In particular, we ask favorability ratings of a range of political actors but don’t always have a place to report them.

In today’s blog post, we take a quick look at those ratings from our most recent poll. In addition to Gov. Chris Christie and former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton’s ratings, which we already reported (especially our extensive battery on Christie) in earlier releases about our July 28 – Aug. 5 poll, we also asked about:

President Barack Obama
U.S. Senator Cory Booker
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jeffrey Bell
Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno

The overall favorability question is asked at the very beginning of the survey:

First, I’d like to ask about some people and groups. Please tell me if your general impression of each one is favorable or unfavorable, or if you do not have an opinion. If you do not know the name, just say so. [RANDOMIZE ORDER]

Ratings0814Several things jump out at us immediately. First, while President Obama’s national job performance ratings are in the 40s at best, voters in New Jersey still feel more favorable about him than not. In fact, Obama and Gov. Christie have nearly the same favorability ratings here in New Jersey, an interesting dynamic in a state that is much more Democrat than Republican.

Second, Hillary Clinton has the highest favorability rating of this group (54%) – NJ voters are 22 points more favorable than unfavorable about her, versus a 9-point favorable margin for Christie and a 7-point margin for Obama. But Cory Booker has the highest net-favorable rating, +32 points, due mainly to the fact that few feel unfavorable toward him. But nearly a third have no opinion on Booker, a seemingly high number for someone who has been such a media darling.

Third, while Christie of course is known by virtually every voter, and most have an opinion, the same cannot be said for the other two Republicans on this list. Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, despite having served with Christie for nearly 5 years, is virtually unknown. More than 7 in 10 NJ voters either have no opinion or don’t recognize her name. The quarter or so who do are split evenly, suggesting perhaps guessing as much as anything. The result for Jeffrey Bell, who is challenging Booker for the U.S. Senate seat, suggests he is maybe even less visible – almost 80% have no opinion, and the other 20% split evenly, as with Guadagno.

A couple of interesting things appear when we examine some groups – particularly party identification and gender.

There is no surprise in partisan reactions to Obama: 82% of Democrats feel favorable toward him while 83% of Republicans are unfavorable. This is polarization at its most stark. Clinton generates nearly as much variation – 83% of Democrats like her, while 68% of Republicans feel unfavorable toward her.

But when we turn to Booker, we see somewhat less polarization, with 65% of Democrats feeling favorable, along with 35% of Republicans, “just” a 30-point gap, versus a 71-point gap in favorability toward Obama between Republicans (11% favorable) and Democrats (82%).

Even Christie’s partisan favorability gap is 51 points – while 79% of Republicans like him, only 28% of Democrats do. So Booker seems to be in a somewhat different place compared to the others.

When we look at the gender differences, we see some interesting results. On Obama, men are evenly split at 45%-45% but women are 12 points more favorable (52%) than not (40%). For Clinton, the gap is much larger. Men are favorable by a 9-point margin, 47% – 38%, but women show a 32-point net favorable rating, 59% – 27%.

Booker, on the other hand, shows a different kind of gender gap in favorability ratings. Men (51%) and women (49%) have about the same level of favorability, but men a much more unfavorable (24%) than women (12%). Instead, women are far more likely than men to have no opinion on Booker.

Unlike most Republicans, Christie’s favorable ratings show no gender gap at all of any kind. Men rate favorability at 50% favorable to 40% unfavorable, while women are 49% – 41% favorable toward Christie, no statistical difference between them.

Finally, turning back to Guadagno and Bell, we see similar partisan dynamics between the two. While Republicans are of course more likely to be positive toward both of them, the key story is that even among Republicans, they are unknown, with more than 60% of GOP voters saying they have no opinion or don’t know either one. While Bell has just burst back on the scene after 30 years away, and thus we would not expect even Republicans to know him, the fact that they also do not know Guadagno, the state’s sitting Lt. Governor, is a sign of just how much Christie takes the spotlight and how little she has been visible even to her own partisans.

We have asked some of these ratings regularly, so here are a few trend charts in case anyone is interested.

Christie0814Obama0814 Booker0809Clinton0814

 

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Filed under Christie NJ Rating, Cory Booker, Hillary Clinton, Jeffrey Bell, Kim Guadagno, Obama NJ Rating

Heads up – New Poll Coming!

The summer tends to be a bit slow here at the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. Most of our students are off doing summery things, and we’re working hard on planning the next year. But this year we have a poll underway right now, with results to begin being released around the middle of next week. It will be some of the usual – the US Senate race, how Gov. Christie’s doing, and the like, but we’re also working on some interesting questions in cooperation with folks at the New Jersey Medical School, asking about health-related issues. Those results will be released a bit later, after we’ve had time to do some detailed analysis. In the meantime, watch for new numbers on Christie, Booker, and even bridgegate (remember that?)

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Filed under Bridgegate, Chris Christie, Christie NJ Rating, Cory Booker, Hillary Clinton, NJ Voters, Obama NJ Rating

Analysis of Rutgers-Eagleton 2013 Pre-election Polls Released

Following inaccurate results for final pre-election polls in October 2013 (NJ Special Senate) and November 2013 (NJ Governor), the Eagleton Institute of Politics commissioned an outside study by Gary Langer of Langer Research Associates of New York to identify reasons for the outcomes of these polls. Today, The Eagleton Institute of Politics and Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling are releasing this analysis to the public as part of a commitment to transparency and education.

The Rutgers-Eagleton Poll reported a final pre-election poll for the special Senate election between then-Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat, and Republican former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan in which Booker held a 22-point lead. Booker ultimately won by 11 points. In the final November gubernatorial pre-election poll, Rutgers-Eagleton had Republican Governor Chris Christie ahead of his Democratic challenger state Senator Barbara Buono by 36 points: Christie won by 22.

The Langer report identifies the primary reason for the inaccurate results as the failure to put the “head-to-head” questions, which asked respondents for their vote intention, at or near the beginning of the questionnaire. Because these questions were asked after a series of other questions, it appears that respondents were “primed” to think positively about Governor Chris Christie in the November survey, which then may have led Democrats and independents in particular to over-report their likelihood of voting for the Governor. A similar process occurred with the October Senate poll, where voters were first reminded of how little they knew about Lonegan and how much they liked Booker before being asked the vote question.

Ruth B. Mandel, director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics stated that, “In response to these results, Eagleton chose to contract with an independent, highly respected, outside survey research firm to review its recent work and offer suggestions for improvement.” She added, “The Institute is committed to contributing to political knowledge in New Jersey and nationally with credible, impartial data. When we saw we had a problem, we knew we had to learn why and what to do about it.”

“Gary Langer and his colleagues spent many hours examining multiple aspects of our polling to understand what went wrong,” said David Redlawsk, director of Eagleton’s Center on Public Interest Polling (ECPIP) and professor of political science at Rutgers. “We are grateful for the efforts they put in and the advice they have provided, both in terms of this specific issue and general operations of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. The results of this report will make what we do even better.”

The Rutgers-Eagleton Poll has been a valued source of information about the views of New Jersey residents for over 40 years. As an academic-based survey research organization, ECPIP strives to be transparent and accessible. “We have a special obligation to take our educational mission seriously, which includes informing the public as well as learning from our own errors.” Redlawsk notes that survey research results released by the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, for example, aim to meet the transparency standards set by the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). Further, in recent years, the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll has been providing open informal insights and perspectives about survey research from Redlawsk and members of his staff through its blog at https://eagletonpollblog.wordpress.com. And for many years full data from the Poll has been freely available, generally after a one-year period, at http://eagleton.libraries.rutgers.edu/.

Langer’s major finding is that the order in which the head-to-head ballot test questions were asked most likely added inadvertent bias to the results in both the October and November Polls, although the results came out in opposite partisan directions in the two polls. Decisions made by ECPIP to maintain the standard set of questions about political figures including Cory Booker and ratings of Chris Christie at the beginning of the questionnaire worked to particularly prime Democrats in the November poll and Republicans in the October poll to support the candidate from the other party – Christie or Booker.

Redlawsk noted that the cause was a decision to maintain an ongoing four-year series of questions about Governor Christie that have been asked at the very beginning of a Rutgers-Eagleton NJ Poll since the governor’s inauguration. “We made this decision purposefully to maintain the integrity of our time series,” said Redlawsk. “This long-term research has greatly informed our understanding of public opinion about Governor Christie, and we had concerns that moving these questions after a head-to-head vote question would bias those results for the same reason we ended up biasing the vote questions.”

Most pre-election head-to-head polls focus only on the election and do not include long batteries of additional questions. The Rutgers-Eagleton Poll was unable to field separate pre-election surveys and thus combined the head-to-head polls with the regular surveys of New Jersey public opinion. “In retrospect, this was the wrong choice when one goal was to be as accurate as possible with pre-election numbers,” noted Redlawsk. “We should have either fielded a separate poll or just focused on our long-term work, rather than trying to do both at the same time.”

The Langer report on the cause of the pre-election poll mis-estimates is available to the public now on the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll website at http://eagletonpoll.rutgers.edu (PDF).

 

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Filed under 2013 NJ Election, Buono, Chris Christie, Cory Booker, NJ Senate 2013 Special Election, Steve Lonegan

#2 Senator Cory Booker – Rutgers-Eagleton Poll’s 2013 Top 5 Countdown

2.) Cory Booker wins the Special Senate Election

This special election was not supposed to happen – at least not this year. Newark Mayor Cory Booker had been on a different path, with speculations rising over a possible challenge to Christie for the governorship and then an early (and much-criticized bid) to unseat fellow Democrat Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) in 2014. But all of that changed when Senator Frank Lautenberg passed away on June 3, 2013, leaving behind a vacant Senate seat. Christie called for a special election, and a race between Booker and former Bogota, New Jersey Mayor Steve Lonegan ensued. The special Senate race in New Jersey became major national news as both candidates stood behind their stark ideological differences and as Booker’s large lead – once thought inevitable – took a surprise turn and began to narrow in the final weeks, making the race more of a contest than anyone had expected. Polls widely varied throughout the shortened campaign, with who exactly would turn out on the specially set date extremely difficult to predict. Booker ultimately won by 10 points – suggesting that the race tightened up as time went on, but also reinforcing that uncertainties that are always part of special elections. The Rutgers-Eagleton Poll recapped the twists and turns of the campaign for the London School of Economics and Political Science’s American Politics and Policy blog.

Booker

And on to #1 for 2013…

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Filed under Cory Booker, NJ Senate 2013 Special Election

Following up on our Booker – Lonegan Numbers from October

Did the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll have a “Bradley Effect” in Our Final U.S. Senate Results?

Bear with us, this is a LONG post…

In our final pre-Senate special election poll, we had Newark Mayor (and now U.S. Senator) Cory Booker up 22 points over his opponent, former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan. The real-world results were different – Booker’s margin was “only” 12 points or so. At the time we speculated on many reasons that our numbers could have been off on the head-to-head question, especially given that we did not see significant levels of variance with other polls on questions such as Booker and Lonegan favorability ratings. We speculated some more the day after the election looking at turnout, but also noting that we wondered if the fact that Booker is an African-American may have played a role. We have since done some fairly complex statistical analysis to examine this question. The upshot is that we see a very clear “race/ethnicity of interviewer” effect in our data; that is, our Black and Hispanic interviewers got more “Booker” votes from among the white respondents they talked to than did our white and Asian callers. And, our white callers got fewer “Booker” votes among Black and Hispanic respondents than did our non-white callers.

This is a complex phenomenon that has previously been documented by researchers, in particular in the aftermath of the 1993 Virginia governor’s race when polls badly overstated support for Doug Wilder, the African American candidate who won, but by a much smaller margin than expected. This is commonly been called the “Bradley Effect“. The argument is that respondents “guess” the race of callers and some will then adjust their responses to conform to what the believe is the caller’s expectation. Whether or not that is exactly what happens, the fact is that the data in our case seem to show exactly that happening.

Now, is the effect enough to account for being off by 10 points? That’s harder to calculate. However, our call center is very diverse – among the 113 student callers working on that poll, 25% were white, 19% Black, 47% Asian, and 11% Hispanic. Across the board our callers averaged about 7 completes per caller, with some variation by race/ethnicity. Overall, 22% of the 695 respondents for whom we have caller data were collected by white callers, 22% by Black callers, 46% by Asian callers, and 10% by Hispanic callers.

So here’s what we have – this is using all our respondents, NOT adjusting for Likely Voters. (Making that adjustment does not make any difference in our basic results.) First the unweighted responses to the question:  “Let’s talk about the Senate election in October. If the special election for the Senate seat were being held today and the candidates were [ROTATE ORDER: Democrat Cory Booker and Republican Steve Lonegan], for whom would you vote?”  (Note, that we did a followup to the don’t knows, asking how they “lean”. We will ignore this right now and focus only on the initial question.)

SNAG-005

Note we have a 22 point margin between Booker and Lonegan in the raw unweighted data, about the same as we had in the final weighted sample. The “Refused” represents people who would not answer the question at all, and the “System” are people who were not asked because they said in an initial screening question they would not be voting.

So what happens if we look at these responses by race of interviewer?

SNAG-003

Now we are only dealing with the 721 people who gave us a response to the question. Note that White interviewers got 50.3% support for Booker. But Black interviewers got 59.5%. Hispanic interviewers found even more Booker support: 62%. Finally, Asian interviewers (the largest group in our call center) found 49.9% support for Booker, pretty much the same as white interviewers.

Next we look at the percentage support for BOOKER by a combination of the Respondent’s race/ethnicity and the caller’s race/ethnicity. This now uses 697 respondents for whom we have their race (a significant number always refuse to answer that question.)

SNAG-002

The raw numbers (Total Column) show that 49.6% of these white respondents supported Booker, while Booker support was 91.1% of Black respondents, 80.0% of Hispanics, and 51.2% of other. Other in this case includes Asian, multiracial, and any other response to the question. These are essentially “normal” results in that we expect Black and Hispanic voters to be more supportive of Booker.

Looking at the Total ROW at the bottom, we see that for White callers, 50.7% of all their respondents supported Booker, with a similar result (50.5%) for Asian callers. But for Black callers, 60.1% of respondents supported Booker, while for Hispanic callers it was 65.2%; both are well above the total 56.3% Booker support among this set of respondents.

More importantly, note that WHITE respondents talking to WHITE callers gave Booker 49.2% support. But when talking to Black or Hispanic callers, white respondents were more likely to report a Booker vote, at 54.9% and 58.0% respectively.  This effect has been documented in the past, including in the Wilder race for VA governor in 1993.

We see another interesting effect with non-white respondents, though we have to be very careful here since we have relatively few of them, so any one group could be highly skewed. But in general, non-white respondents who talked to white callers, were less likely to report Booker votes than when they talked to non-white callers.

All of this is interesting but it doesn’t account for the possibility that callers of different races/ethnicities may have talked to different kinds of respondents. As a simple example, if white callers were more likely to talk to Republicans (regardless of respondent race), while non-white callers talked more to Democrats, we would see the same pattern but it would not be because of the race/ethnicity of the caller. To deal with this we must do a more complex multivariate analysis to control for these kinds of differences.

We won’t go into the details of the statistical analysis here, but it was designed to control for key factors that affect the vote choice – partisanship, ideology, and voter race/ethnicity, and voter gender. That means that we make sure the differences we see in the vote by caller race/ethnicity are NOT because of these factors. We added in one more control, that for what is termed in political science as “Racial Resentment” (see also here), a measure of “subtle anti-Black feeling”. We included this because Booker is African American and research has shown that this measure helps predict the likelihood of voting for a Black candidate.

By using multivariate statistics (specifically logistic regression) to predict the likelihood of a vote for Booker based on the controls above AND the race/ethnicity of our callers, we can examine the extent to which we see caller race/ethnicity conditioning poll responses. Follow is what we find:

SNAG-001

The first row of data shows all respondents by the race of the interviewer. Results are very similar to the initial table before we control for other factors. Across everyone, voters who talked to Black and Hispanic callers were more likely to say they would vote for Booker than those who talked to white and Asian callers.

As the table shows, there are differences across the race/ethnicity of respondents. Looking only at white voters, they remain more likely to tell Black and Hispanic callers they support Booker. For Black and Hispanic voters, talking to a white caller seems to lower the likelihood of reporting support for Booker, compared to talking to non-white callers. And because the model used for this prediction controls for partisanship and other factors, we are pretty confident that the results are in fact related to the race and ethnicity of callers and the race/ethnicity of voters.

To check this, we also ran similar models with the Buono-Christie responses from the same poll (where our results were in line with everyone else’s in mid-October) which show no effects for race/ethnicity of interviewer. Even more interesting, we also tested this model with the evaluation we asked voters to give to Booker (called a “feeling thermometer rating”) on a 0-100 scale, and we found no significant effects for race/ethnicity of callers. The issue seems limited to the question of the vote itself, and not other questions.

So what does this all mean?

For the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, it means that our pre-election numbers which overstated Booker support were, at least in part, because we have a very diverse call center, probably much more diverse than any other call center that polled on this election. It also means we will have to look more carefully at how we handle election polling when there is a non-white candidate in the mix.

And it also means that in an election like this, with an African-American candidate, polling that does not use interviewers – like computerized polls where respondents listed to a computer ask the question and respond on their phone keypads, known as “interactive voice response” – may result in more accurate results, at least for those who can be reached this way. However, IVR cannot be used to call cell phones, so at a minimum it would be necessary to combined IVR with live calling of cell phones in order to get a reasonable sample of the population. This is what Monmouth did in its pre-election polls, apparently to good effect. IVR has other issues, though, and has to be looked at very carefully.

If you’ve made it this far in this very long post, congratulations! Bottom line for us: our final pre-election Booker-Lonegan poll was off by 10 points, overstating Booker’s numbers. We now think a least some significant part of that error is due to this race/ethnicity of interviewer effect as the evidence shows.

Of course, this does NOT explain our problem in the final Christie-Buono poll, where we were off by 14 points (showing Christie up 36 points while he won by 22.) Given the evidence from the October poll where our numbers for the governor’s race fit with other polling centers results, something else must have happened in our final gubernatorial poll.  Apparently we suffered from one problem in the Senate race, but something else in the race for governor. We’re currently moving forward on trying to understand what that might have been. We’ll report more on that effort in the (we hope) not-too-distant future.

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Filed under 2013 NJ Election, Cory Booker, NJ Voters

Well, Booker won, but we were pretty far off…

While not all the final numbers are in as this gets written, it looks like Cory Booker has won the Senate race by between 11 and 12 points. Our final poll, which ended last Sunday, had him up 22 points in our likely voter sample. That’s pretty far off. Monmouth and Quinnipiac were essentially right on the mark.

We’ll try to figure out why we missed it this far over the next weeks. After all, while we’d like to get it “right” we always stand by two points: 1. Polling is NOT a prediction, no matter how much we sometimes act and talk as if it is. It provides an estimate at the point in which the poll is done. It does not foretell the future. 2. We are an academic operation, and even when we get what seem to be out-of-the-norm results, we look for the learning opportunities for ourselves and for others in what we find.

What’s interesting to us is that our other numbers in the same poll make “sense” – for example, our favorability ratings for Booker are in the same range as other polls that have reported them.  And as our releases over the next week will show, other numbers from the same sample also seem reasonable. So something is odd specifically in what we recorded for the Booker-Lonegan vote question. It doesn’t look like a technical problem; we’ve checked that. We recorded what people told us. And the sample doesn’t seem demographically odd as a whole. Given these two points, no matter how we thought about likely voters in our modeling, we kept showing Booker +20 or so.

On obvious problem, then, is that we failed to get a good “likely voter” screen as much as we tried.  Our likely voter calculation did screen out more unlikely Booker supporters than it did unlikely Lonegan supporters, which suggested Lonegan’s supporters would turn out at a higher ratio than would Booker’s.

And in a very quick look, that is be exactly what happened, but even more than we expected.

Last year Republican Joe Kyrillos lost to Sen. Bob Menendez by a 17-point margin. Kyrillos won 7 counties, Menendez won 14 counties. This time around, Lonegan appears to have won the same 7 counties plus another two. More interestingly, Lonegan overperformed Kyrillos in 18 of 21 counties – that is, he did better as a percentage of the vote than did last year’s GOP candidate throughout the state.

Booker overperformed in exactly zero counties as this is written, instead getting the same percentage in 3 counties that Menendez did last year. So it does look like Lonegan supporters were much more likely to turn out than we were seeing in our data.

Another indicator is that in the 7 counties Kyrillos won last year, turnout was just under half of what it was in 2012 (about 46% of last year’s total at the moment).

But in the counties Menendez won last year (and Booker won all but two this year) turnout appears to only be about 40% of the number that voted last year.  Again, Booker not only underperformed Menendez, but also had lower turnout in his winning counties.

Finally,  there are real regional differences: Lonegan’s “best” over-performance came in:

Cumberland +13 points over Kyrillos’ results
Salem +11
Warren +9
Atlantic +8
Ocean +8
Gloucester +8
Cape May +7
Sussex +7
Camden +5

Except for Sussex and Warren, these are southern and shore counties.
Booker’s least worst counties were:

Essex +0 points versus Menendez’s results
Bergen +0
Monmouth +0
Hudson -1
Mercer -1
Morris -1

Nothing South Jersey in this list, though Booker held even in a couple Republican counties.

This leads us to wonder if the fact that Booker is African-American played any role. If it did for us, why not for other pollsters? We have some thoughts on this point we will be investigating, and we’ll come back and talk about that once we’ve done so.

These are not final numbers at this point, so there may be a percentage point shift here and there. But one part of the story seems clear. We assumed better turnout in Democratic counties than actually occurred and we underestimated Republican turnout. And,  Booker underperformed compared to Lonegan all over the state, if we use 2012 as a baseline, which we did not see coming in what people were telling us last week.

It might be worth noting that in most places a 11-12 point win is pretty much a landslide. But given the low initial expectations for Steve Lonegan, it probably seems disappointing to Booker forces. But give Lonegan lots of credit. he ran an impressive attention-getting campaign, for better or worse, and probably can count this as a moral victory if nothing else.

As for us, well we do have another election on which to focus!

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Filed under 2013 NJ Election, Cory Booker, NJ Senate 2013 Special Election

Rutgers-Eagleton Poll: Booker Lead Greater than Expected

CLICK HERE FOR THE TEXT OF THE 10/14 BOOKER-LONEGAN RELEASE FROM THE RUTGERS-EAGLETON POLL. Alternatively, the full text of the release follows a somewhat lengthy speculation on why this poll differs from a brand new Monmouth poll showing a much smaller margin for Booker.

The following analysis is by Rutgers-Eagleton Poll Director David Redlawsk  [EDITS as noted 6:40pm EDT, 10/14/13].

Well, these are the times that pollsters hate. I think I know how the Gallup people must have felt when their 2012 vote models showed Romney ahead in the waning days of last year’s election, something that was clearly not true.

Why, you ask? Because today’s Rutgers-Eagleton Poll puts Cory Booker up 22-points on Steve Lonegan, a far larger margin than any other recent poll, and, in particular well above Monmouth’s 10-point lead for Booker, also out today. Monmouth’s polling dates fall within the dates we polled as well – though we were in the field longer. However, looking at our daily numbers we don’t think the longer fielding time is the issue, though we do see movement more toward than away from Booker over the last week, especially on our last day of polling, Oct 13, the day after Monmouth ended their poll. In fact, of our week of polling, the two days with the best Lonegan performance are the 10th and 12th, two of the three days Monmouth polled.

Still, I am puzzled, to be quite honest. I understood our large margin for Booker right after the primary – at that time Lonegan had gotten nothing but bad press and Booker had just come off a huge primary victory. But here it is harder to see what’s happening.

What’s especially odd from our perspective is that numbers other than the vote – for example, favorability – are very similar between the two polls.

So, anyway, which is it: Booker up 10, or Booker up 22?

We’ve looked at our data over and over. We’ve looked at other indicators besides the Booker-Lonegan race and those numbers seem quite reasonable, as we’ll report later. We looked at our weighted partisan breakdown for likely voters, and that’s not substantially different either. What is different between us and Monmouth today? We see a few key areas:

Gender questions

No, we don’t mean the Lonegan campaign’s attacks on Booker’s masculinity. That’s irrelevant.  But the difference between how men and women plan to vote does matter.

Monmouth shows essentially NO gender gap – in their poll 53% of men and 51% of women support Booker. We show a huge gender gap: 51% of men support Booker (basically the same as Monmouth) but we have 67% of women on his side (versus only 27% voting for Lonegan.) This alone could account for much of the difference. Interestingly, other polls have also shown a gender gap, most notably a recent Quinnipiac poll which had women going for Booker 62%-31%, although they showed men supporting Lonegan 51%-44% .

Independence

We have independent voters supporting Booker over Lonegan by a margin of 49% to 41%. But Monmouth’s poll has it the opposite: independents are 48% Lonegan and 43% Booker. we also have more Democrats (96%) supporting Booker and fewer Republicans (74%) supporting Lonegan. For Monmouth the number are 90% and 86% respectively.

Is it the Old Folks?

In our poll, voters 65 and over favor Booker 53%-43% over Lonegan.  Monmouth does not report an age crosstabulation so we do not know how different we are. However, we do know that Monmouth has a lot more senior citizens in its Likely Voter sample, at 36% of all voters, where we have just 30% of likely voters 65 and over. Since older people are more likely to support Lonegan, that could be a factor.

METHODOLOGY!  [EDIT, 6:40PM, 10/13: Huffpost Pollster talks about this point this evening…]

So here’s an interesting issue – Monmouth is using IVR for part of their polling. IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response – or in other words, robo-polling. In this method, computers dial landline numbers and respondents answer computer generated questions by keying responses on their phone keypad. With IVR the pollster has no idea who they are actually talking to – it could be anyone who picks up the phone. There is no human interaction. For the most part people who respond to IVR polls are often quite different from those who respond to live callers. Monmouth knows this so they supplement the IVR with live caller cellphones and some live landlines.  But more than half their sample is from IVR. It would be very interesting to see what the numbers say just for the IVR sample, compared to their live callers. However, they do not report this. Maybe they see no difference. [EDIT: Patrick Murray at Monmouth tells Huffpost that they did in fact see no difference. But since that was NOT disclosed in their press release or their methodology statement, it was impossible to know that when writing this post. I will note we don’t actually know what “no difference” means. Is in no difference in the marginals? Or no difference in the makeup of the samples? Pre or post-weighting?]

My guess is that IVR brings the older sample, and also results in the lack of a gender gap. But that’s only a guess right now. [EDIT, 6:40PM, 10/14: And apparently Patrick Murray suggests the same gender result in both IVR and live landlines, but again he isn’t completely clear on this.]

Race

This leads to one other interesting possibility. With IVR respondents don’t have to talk to anyone. This lessens what we call “social desireabilty” which has been shown to matter when race and ethnicity are a factor in preferences. People know it is “wrong” to express overtly racist attitudes. Likewise, there has been evidence in the past that voters may over report support for a non-white candidate in a live-caller poll. IVR does not have this problem – people can be honest without anyone knowing except the computer. Is it a factor here? I’m really not sure how deeply race comes into this election. If it does, then we may well get more supporters for Booker in our live calling than he will get in the privacy of the voting booth.

Finally, it’s also about likely voters and sampling

Both Rutgers-Eagleton and Monmouth try to identify likely voters. From what Monmouth says in their release, they used a listed registered voter sample and consider people who voted in two of the last four general elections to be likely voters. If they asked any other questions to determine this, they did not say in their release so we assume they did not. [EDIT 6:40PM, 10/14: Apparently, according to Huffpost, Monmouth did ask two additional screening questions. But again this was not made clear in the Monmouth release or methodology statement.]

We use Random Digit Dialing (RDD), not a listed sample. The disadvantage is we do not know voting history, and we have to screen for registered voters – and people may lie about this. The advantage is that we can hear people talk, and can get to the right person. We also theoretically have better coverage in that many people do not provide phone numbers when they register or provide incorrect numbers. With RDD theoretically anyone can get a call.

We ask a series of questions to determine likely voters – including awareness of the election date, attention to the campaign, a direct “will you vote question”, and a vote history question. Combining these gives us a model for likely voters that has fewer older people, and slightly more white people, but about the same share of each party as Monmouth. So the likely voter screen does not seem to be a huge source of the difference, at least in terms of  partisan breakdown.

[EDIT 6:40PM, 10/14: We also checked different levels of screening that were more or less strict, based on different cutoffs on our questions. The results did not vary by more than a couple points.]

So…

The upshot is that we report numbers quite different from other recent polls. Are we certain about them? Of course not – there are many reasons we could be way off. But we could also be within the ballpark.  In the end, every poll is an estimate and some will be on the mark and some will be off. Take each one with a grain of salt. Looking across all polls, if I had to guess (as opposed to poll), I think Booker will win with a margin in the mid-teens.

Still, a lot depends on who remembers to vote on Wednesday, October 16 and how effective the campaigns are a getting out their supporters.  If we’re wrong, we’ll try to figure out what happened. If we’re right, well, you heard it here first!

Finally, we could have simply not released this poll, but we might as well put it out there and see if others can see a problem that we are missing.

RELEASE TEXT FOLLOWS:

RUTGERS-EAGLETON POLL: BOOKER HOLDS LARGER THAN EXPECTED LEAD OVER LONEGAN ON EVE OF SPECIAL SENATE ELECTION

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J – With just two days to go until the Oct. 16 special U.S. Senate election, Newark Mayor Cory Booker holds a 58 percent to 36 percent lead over former Republican Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan among likely voters, a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll finds. Another 3 percent prefer someone else, and about 3 percent remain undecided. While the Democrat’s lead is less than he enjoyed following the August primary, compared to other polls this latest Rutgers-Eagleton poll suggests Booker has recently gained in his bid to succeed the late Frank Lautenberg.

The debates between Booker and Lonegan, which highlighted the stark policy differences between them, may have played an important role in Booker’s current performance. While 43 percent of all likely voters paid some attention to a debate, independent voters who followed the debates strongly favor Booker, 59 percent to 37 percent. But independents ignoring the debates prefer Lonegan by a 45 percent to 42 percent margin.

For partisans, attention to the debate reinforced support for their own party’s candidate. At this point, Booker does much better than Lonegan within his party: 96 percent of likely Democrats are in Booker’s corner, while Lonegan wins only 74 percent of Republicans. GOP backers are less likely to have followed the debates: 36 percent compared to 49 percent of Democrats and 43 percent of likely independent voters.

“Other recent polls showed a narrower lead for Booker, but voters we talked to seem to have moved back in his direction,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers. “The debates presented a stark picture of the differences between the candidates, which appears to have led independents to prefer Booker. While both candidates came out swinging, Lonegan’s attacks bordered on the taboo, with his ‘floating dead bodies’ and ‘big black hole’ comments about Newark – reminiscent of the rhetoric that got him into hot water early in the campaign. Independents in particular dislike these kinds of attack.”

Results are from a sample of 513 likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.3 percentage points. These likely voters are part of a sample of 798 registered voters polled statewide using live callers to both landline and cell phone households from Oct. 7-13.

Voters paying some attention

The uniqueness of the special Senate election makes estimates of turnout difficult and suggests that the final result will be unusually dependent on the candidates’ abilities to motivate their supporters. There is some evidence that voters are paying attention. More than half of registered voters know there is an election in October, and 45 percent know it will be held Oct. 16. Just over half are following the election at least fairly closely, with about one in five paying very close attention. Sixty percent of registered voters claim they are very likely to vote Wednesday.

Booker holds a commanding lead with minority voters, urbanites and voters in the South Jersey/Philadelphia region. Lonegan leads among voters in shore counties, 46 percent to 44 percent, while losing northwestern exurban voters, 51 percent to 41 percent, a better performance than his statewide margin.

“Here’s the key: if the Booker campaign can turn out urban voters and Democrats who say they will vote, he will be in the range we estimate,” said Redlawsk. “If Lonegan’s turnout operation is stronger and Booker’s base stays home thinking it is all wrapped up, then all bets are off.”

Booker ratings down slightly on Lonegan attacks

Lonegan’s attacks throughout the campaign appear to have had some impact. While Booker receives positive ratings from 54 percent of likely voters, this is a nine-point drop from an early September Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. Concurrently, his unfavorability has almost doubled to 32 percent.  Still, asked to rate the Democrat on a scale of 0 to 100 degrees, voters remain warm toward Booker with an average score of 56 degrees. The overriding emotional response to Booker is “hope,” with 48 percent saying his campaign makes them feel hopeful and 33 percent proud. In contrast, only 12 percent are angered and 19 percent worried by Booker.

Lonegan, however, continues to leave either a negative impression or none at all on most likely voters. While favorable impressions of the Republican have risen eight points to 30 percent, the share of voters who hold unfavorable impressions climbed to 34 percent. Over one third have no opinion on the GOP candidate. In general, likely voters are quite cool toward Lonegan; he averages only 41 degrees on the poll’s thermometer. Voters feel more negative about Lonegan than Booker: 37 percent are worried, and 30 percent angered by his campaign. Thirty percent are hopeful and 16 percent are proud of the candidate.

Many voters see Booker as a self-promoter

Booker is not without weaknesses. A third of likely voters say Booker is more about self-promotion and that life in Newark has improved little under this watch. While Lonegan has gained some support though this line of attack, a plurality (47 percent) continues to believe Booker has made real improvement in Newark.

Booker’s position on issues is seen as “about right” for 42 percent of likely voters, but 44 percent think he is too liberal, even for blue New Jersey. Lonegan, however, is thought too conservative by a large majority of likely voters; 60 percent say he is further to the right than most of the state, while only 18 percent say his views are right on par with the preferences of New Jerseyans.

“By all measures, voters see Booker as somewhat more in tune with New Jersey and see Lonegan as less so,” said Redlawsk. “Although Lonegan has tarnished Booker’s image, Booker remains the clear preference of voters, generating warmer feelings and a strongly positive impression, and taking positions more in line with what voters want.”

The party base, women and independents support Booker

Booker’s advantage over Lonegan is driven by overwhelming support from his own party base and a winning margin with independents. Ninety-six percent of likely Democratic voters back Booker, compared to only 74 percent of likely Republican voters who support Lonegan.  Independents also are in Booker’s corner, 49 percent to 41 percent for Lonegan. Newark’s mayor captures 16 percent of the Republican vote, while Lonegan peels off only 2 percent of Democrats.

Booker leads across virtually all demographic groups. While both men and women go for Booker, women are 13 points more likely than men to say they will vote for the Democrat and 18 points less likely than men to say they will vote for his opponent, evidencing a wide gender gap.

Booker also gets support from almost 9 in 10 likely voters who say he has made a real difference in Newark, but among those who think Booker is too much about his own self-promotion, only one in five say they will vote for him.

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Filed under 2013 NJ Election, Cory Booker, NJ Senate 2013 Special Election, Steve Lonegan

LIKELY VOTERS GIVE BOOKER LARGE LEAD, MOST EXPECT HIM TO WIN; LONEGAN WIDELY UNKNOWN

We start this next round of polling results with the upcoming special U.S. Senate election, to be held on October 16. The candidates are Newark Mayor Cory Booker and former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan. It has been less than a month since the primary election that made both their party’s nominee, though neither had much trouble winning their respective primaries. Turnout in the Democratic primary surprised most observers, with more than 20% of Democrats going to the polls, much higher than expected. Republican turnout was quite low, however. Perhaps this reflected a less competitive Republican primary, or maybe a lack of enthusiasm for Lonegan. Hard to tell. But in our first post-primary head-to-head test of the two candidates, less than strong Republican numbers suggest it might have been the latter.

Booker holds on to 93% of Democrats, with only 3% of Democrats crossing over to support Lonegan. But nearly one in five Republicans says they will vote for Booker. Given this, along with strong registered voter advantage Democrats hold and a solid showing among independents, Booker now holds a large 64% – 29% lead among the likely Senate voters in our sample. Is the race really that lopsided? Or are we reflecting a couple bad media weeks for Lonegan including the Tweet by one of his staff of a racially insensitive map of Newark and Lonegan’s recent questions about Booker’s masculinity. Neither has created a positive image for the Republican. In fact, his core problem could be he has no image at all among a majority of likely voters, and among those with an impression, half are positive and half are negative. Meanwhile, ratings of Booker are overwhelmingly positive among likely voters.

One thing of note in this likely voter sample – it is very Democratic, in fact 23 points more Democrat than Republican. We don’t weight likely voter samples to party registration, so this is what we actually found in our polling. This matters, given that nearly all Democrats say they will vote for Booker. Obviously the more Democrats who make it through the likely voter screen the better the result for Booker. So we took a look to see what would happen if the sample were less Democratic, say 40% Democrat and 22% Republican, that is, 18 points more Democratic than Republican instead of 23 points. Assuming nothing else changed, we’d find a 30 point lead for Booker. No matter how we slice the sample Booker is doing very well. It would take a massive Republican turnout assumption to change this right now.

A note about likely voters in this poll. It is difficult to figure out who will show up for a special election on a Wednesday in mid-October. In the end we decided on three simple screens: when the respondent last voted (this year, last year, somewhere in the past before that), how closely they are following the senate election, and self-stated likelihood of voting in the senate election. These three questions result in a 0-10 scale; we have somewhat arbitrarily decided that those scoring 7 or higher are likely voters. This gives us 462 LVs in a sample of 814 registered voters. As it turns out it doesn’t make a lot of difference where we set the cutoff, so this seems reasonable.

The text of the release follows. Click here for a PDF of the release text with questions and tables.

LIKELY VOTERS GIVE BOOKER LARGE LEAD, MOST EXPECT HIM TO WIN; LONEGAN WIDELY UNKNOWN

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – With just over five weeks until the Oct. 16 special U.S. Senate election, Newark Mayor Cory Booker has opened a large lead over former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, according to a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of likely voters support Booker, 29 percent plan to vote for Lonegan and 6 percent are undecided.

Most likely voters think Booker, a Democrat, will win – including Republicans and Lonegan voters. And in a campaign where the candidates disagree on almost everything, solid majorities in both camps say candidate’s issue positions are more important than leadership style.

As in the primary, Booker benefits from name recognition supported by his positive impression on most voters; 63 percent (versus 19 percent unfavorable), have a favorable impression of Booker, while 17 percent are neutral or simply do not know him. Lonegan, however, leaves no impression with more than half of likely voters. Among those with an impression, 22 percent are favorable and 22 percent are unfavorable.

The special election is drawing modest attention among registered voters: just over half claim they are following the election at least fairly closely with about a quarter giving it close attention. Just under 60 percent of registered voters say they are very likely to vote in the October election.

“Booker appears to be building an insurmountable lead,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers. “While special elections are notoriously hard to predict, given uncertainties about turnout, Booker’s name recognition, celebrity-type status and stances on issues that align more with New Jersey’s ‘blue’ political climate seem to be driving momentum toward him and away from Lonegan. On top of that the Republican’s most recent news highlights attacking Booker’s masculinity have been quite unflattering.”

Results come from a sample of 462 likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points. All totaled, 925 New Jersey adults were polled statewide among both landline and cell phone households from Sept. 3-9. Within this adult sample are 814 registered voters, with a margin of error of +/-3.4 percentage points, from which the likely voter sample is taken.

Booker’s lead wide across the board

Booker’s double-digit advantage over Lonegan is driven by overwhelming support from his own party base and independents. More than 90 percent of likely Democratic voters back Booker, compared to only three-quarters of likely Republican voters who support Lonegan. Among independents, Booker holds a 52 percent to 38 percent lead. Booker even captures 19 percent of the Republican vote while Lonegan peels off only 3 percent of Democrats.

“The nearly unanimous party support is a key for Booker,” said Redlawsk. “Democrats seem motivated in this election, and may even be more likely to turn out than Republicans, who are much more split on their candidate.”

Booker handily leads across virtually all demographic groups. He especially wins over likely women voters by a huge margin, 73 percent to 21 percent. Likely male voters show a tighter race – 55 percent for Booker to 37 percent for Lonegan. Booker takes a commanding lead with minority voters, as well as younger voters and urbanites.

Booker also gets favorable ratings from some who do not plan to vote for him, but most with a favorable impression support him. Lonegan also gets majority support from those with a favorable impression of him. The problem is there are many fewer of these voters. Moreover, a quarter of those who like Lonegan still plan to vote for Booker, and Booker overwhelmingly wins the large number who have no opinion of Lonegan.

Voters paying some attention

A majority of all registered voters are paying some attention to the Senate race; 24 percent are watching it very closely and 32 percent fairly closely. But 44 percent are paying little attention and are not likely to vote. Democrats and independents are more likely than Republicans to be following the campaign very closely. Booker wins two-thirds of registered voters paying very close attention but only leads 52 to 27 percent among those paying just some attention. Lonegan’s battle will be uphill even if most registered voters show up. Among those with any chance of voting, Booker still holds an almost insurmountable 59 percent to 26 percent lead. Increasing turnout does not seem likely to pay off for Lonegan, at least right now, noted Redlawsk.

Most voters say issues are key

More than 60 percent of all likely voters say that a candidate’s stance on issues is more important than leadership style. Men are nine points more likely than women to prefer issues over style, though a solid majority of both genders call issues more important. Regardless, Booker wins among both groups: those who favor issues and those who vote for style.

About 80% percent of likely voters expect Booker to win, no matter their personal preference.  Sixty-four percent of Republicans, 60 percent of conservatives, and 69 percent of those favoring Lonegan believe Booker will win the special Senate election. Every demographic group believes the odds are against Lonegan.

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Filed under 2013 NJ Election, Cory Booker, NJ Senate 2013 Special Election, NJ Voters, Steve Lonegan

On to the NJ Special Senate General Election!

OK, so let me start by admitting I was wrong. About what, you ask? Well, along with virtually every other pundit in the state, we here at the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll expected turnout in the special Senate primary to be abysmal, if even that. The primary was being held with little lead time, in the middle of August, when everyone it seems is down the shore. Moreover, both Republicans and Democrats appeared to have essentially uncompetitive races. And of course, turnout in primaries is generally low anyway. All of this combined to assure us that we’d see record low turnout.

Well, mea culpa. Though I suppose we were half right. Republican turnout looks to have been about 130,000 voters out of around 1.085 million registered Republicans, or about 12%. That’s pretty bad, by any standard. Democrats, though, nearly doubled this, with more than 350,000 showing up to vote, out of just under 1.8 million, or right around 20%. Now 20% might not seem like much, but it is a far cry from the anticipated “no one will vote” story.

The winners were Steve Lonegan, with 79% of the vote (with 98% of precincts reporting,) and Cory Booker with 59%. In both cases, the winners out performed the few polls that were out, but to be fair, Quinnipiac’s last poll was pretty close on both sides. For the Democrats, whether it’s that the 9% “undecideds” in that poll went more for Booker than any other candidate or that (more likely in my mind) undecideds didn’t actually show up and Booker had a better turnout operation than the others, Quinnipiac did a good job of what we thought would be a very difficult task: identifying likely voters. Also, the Monmouth poll done earlier suggested in their likely voter screen that turnout could range between 200,000 and 400,000 Democrats – with that high end seeming pretty unlikely. Yet, in fact, Democratic turnout was closer to the high than the low end.

We had decided not to poll because we were very uncertain about our likely voter model in this context; apparently the primary voters who turned out looked a lot like any likely primary voters, despite the oddity of an August primary. Most likely this is due as much to Cory Booker’s ground operation as the support for Frank Pallone and Rush Holt within their own Congressional Districts (both appear to have basically won their district.) [correction: the Star Ledger reported on Aug. 15 that Booker appears to have narrowly won in Holt’s district while Pallone did indeed win his.]

This morning, I did a quick and dirty look at Democratic turnout by county. Some interesting results:  (All Senate election and turnout numbers from http://project.wnyc.org/election2013. Registered voter numbers come from the state Board of Elections.)

Top 5 counties:  Mercer, 26%; Monmouth, 25%; Essex, 23%; Hunterdon, 23; Somerset, 23%.

Of these, Holt won 2 (Mercer and Hunterdon) and Pallone won one (Monmouth). Booker handily won Essex with 67% and got 53% in Somerset. The problem for both Pallone and Holt is that they won (or did best in) counties with many fewer Democrats than Booker, who, not surprisingly won overwhelmingly in the Democrat-rich counties of Essex, Bergen, and Hudson, even though turnout in the latter two was at or below the state average. Booker didn’t need a massive turnout percentage there to win, just lots of votes. Essex itself, for example, has more Democrats than Mercer and Monmouth combined.

Some other interesting things that reinforce the local aspect of politics. First, Middlesex, with about the same number of Democrats as Bergen (both about 50,000 Democrats behind Essex) had 22% turnout, but a true three-way race, with Booker at 38%, Pallone at 33% and Holt at 25%. Of course both Pallone and Holt both represent parts of Middlesex, accounting for their much stronger showing than in most of the rest of the state.

Booker got less than 50% in only 6 counties: Warren, Ocean, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, and Hunterdon. Of these Pallone represents parts of Monmouth and Middlesex, and Holt has parts of Mercer, Middlesex and Hunterdon. Where they knew them, voters preferred Pallone or Holt, otherwise Booker’s wider recognition and celebrity status no doubt played a role in burying both Congressmen.

Also, for all the early news reports of “vote by mail” efforts in Camden county supposedly orchestrated by the Booker campaign, Camden turnout was the lowest in the state, at 11.3% with just over 15,000 reported Democratic votes. However, as of this writing, voters are reported from only 82% of precincts (compared to 98% of the state) so the numbers in Camden are no doubt higher, but will still most likely put it in the bottom 5 of turnout. But what Camden really has in common with other southern counties is that all of the candidates came from central or north Jersey. And for the most part, the turnout percentages reflect that.

Bottom 5 counties:  Camden, 11%; Gloucester, 12%; Salem, 13%; Cumberland, 13%; Warren, 14%/

Where the candidates live, and are better known, voters were simply much more likely to show up. No great surprise, perhaps, but interesting none the less.

So on to the special Senate general election on Wednesday October 16. Given the primary turnout, perhaps we should be more upbeat about turnout for that election. On the other hand, if the initial polling is right (and we suspect it is) then this will be a snoozer of a race, with Booker handily beating Lonegan. Doesn’t mean the campaign won’t be interesting; with Lonegan in it, it is likely to have at least some fireworks. But turnout for October? Who knows. But regardless, Rutgers-Eagleton will be polling this one, with out first poll on the race due out in early September. Watch for it!

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Filed under 2013 NJ Election, Cory Booker, Frank Pallone, NJ Senate 2013 Special Election, NJ Voters, Rush Holt, Sheila Oliver