Democratic Lean in NJ 7th District

default article imageDemocratic candidate Tom Malinowski narrowly leads incumbent Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township) in New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District race, according to a recent poll released by the University’s Polling Institute on Thursday, Sept. 20.

This district includes all of Hunterdon County, and parts of Essex, Morris, Somerset, Union, and Warren counties; and it has been represented by Lance since 2008.

According to the Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI), the district has a score of R+3, meaning it tends to vote Republican.

Republican candidate, former-Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney won the district by six points in the 2012 presidential election.

However, the district swung by one point for Democratic candidate, former-Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

“It’s a brutal campaign season for moderate Republicans running in blue states like New Jersey,” said Joseph Patten, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Political Science and Sociology, and an associate professor of political science.

“Many pollsters are predicting a pink wave of women voters that could potentially tip the scales for Democrats against moderate Republicans, which the current controversy involving Supreme Court nominee Judge Kavanaugh makes worse,” he added. 

Patten also attributes the Democratic lean to the recent tax reform bill passed by the Republicans in Congress last December.

“Some New Jersey residents are being hit particularly hard,” he said, referring to the law’s cap placed on the deduction for state and local income, property, and sales taxes in New Jersey.

Patrick Murray, Director of the University’s Polling Institute, said, “Perhaps the most interesting thing about this district is that it is home to the Trump National Golf Club, where the president spends much of his time over the summer.”

“Voters in that part of the district are really negative about the job he is doing even though they are Republican voters historically,” he added.

“It’s just that they adhere to a much more moderate vision of the GOP than Trump represents,” Murray concluded.

According to a survey from the University’s Polling Institute, 47 percent of respondents from this district “strongly disapprove” of the President Donald Trump’s performance in office.

The survey also shows that 46 percent of respondents would rather see the Democrats take control of Congress.