New Jersey’s presidential primaries historically don’t matter because the party nominations are secured by the time the Garden State holds its contests in June.
That may change this year however, as Hillary Clinton fends off a late rally from her rival, Independent Democratic Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont.
Sanders won the last seven contests leading up to a potentially decisive contest in New York on Tuesday April 19. With Clinton polling 51 percent to Sanders’ 39 percent in the Empire State according to the latest Monmouth University poll, it is unlikely that New York’s 247 unpledged delegates will give Clinton a decisive victory according to the state’s proportional allocation where delegates are awarded based on the percentage of the vote received by candidates.
Clinton could however, cash in on New York’s 44 superdelegates (an unelected delegate who is free to support any candidate for the presidential nomination at the party’s national convention, regardless of state vote results), at least a half dozen of which have already pledged their unwavering support for Clinton.
After New York, the next highest-stakes contest is Pennsylvania (189 delegates) on April 26, followed by California (475 delegates) and New Jersey’s “winner take all” primary (126 delegates) on June 7.
There could emerge a scenario, based on the proportional allocation of votes from these states, where Clinton may need to win all of New Jersey’s 126 unpledged delegates to put her over the 2,383 threshold needed to secure the party’s nomination.
Clinton currently commands 1,758 delegates to Sanders’ 1,076 with 1,931 still available for either candidate to collect.
The latest polling data available of likely Democratic primary voters in New Jersey shows Clinton leading Sanders by 23 points; 55 to 32 percent, respectively, according to Rutgers-Eagleton polls.
If the polls are any indication, Clinton’s support in the state has steadily waned and the toll of the election is finally showing its inevitable effect on the front runner – relevant polling shows that she is still untrustworthy among young voters while increasing numbers of minority voters – blacks and Hispanics most prominently – are waiting until the election nears to make a decision.
The Rutgers-Eagleton poll indicates that Clinton is still slightly more popular in New Jersey than in her “home state” of New York and if Sanders continues to perform well after the April primary and into May, Clinton’s coronation could be delayed until the Garden State casts its votes.
As such, it is more important than ever that young voters turn out for the consequential primary election and make their voices heard.
The New Jersey “winner take all” presidential primary is slated for Tuesday June 7 with 5 other states: California, Montana, New Mexico, the North Dakota Democratic Caucus and South Dakota.
California and New Jersey are the only two mixed environments in which registered voters may choose to vote in either primary or switch their registered affiliation the day of voting. June 7 represents the penultimate contests to the District of Columbia’s June 14 primary and the Democratic National Convention held in Philadelphia during July 25-28, 2016.
Virgin Islands (D)
Puerto Rico (D)
North Dakota (D),
Washington DC (D)
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