By Jim Ellis
First, the Schoen New Jersey poll (Oct. 9-12; 500 certain and likely New Jersey gubernatorial election voters) finds incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy (D) leading challenger Jack Ciattarelli (R), a former state assemblyman and business owner, 50-41 percent. Moving through the poll, however, we see the “always vote in gubernatorial elections” cell segment tell a different story.
Among the “absolutely certain” 2021 voters, the race tightens to a 48-46 percent Murphy lead, and among those who say they “always” vote in gubernatorial elections, the Murphy position slightly improves to 49-45 percent.
Schoen also simultaneously conducted a similar poll of the Virginia governor’s race (Oct. 9-12; 500 certain and likely New Jersey gubernatorial election voters), and the segmented results offer an even more stark contrast when compared with the overall sample.
On the ballot test, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) leads ex-hedge fund CEO Glenn Youngkin (R) by a 47-43 percent count, numbers and a spread we have seen consistently throughout the Old Dominion polling cycle.
Among the “absolutely certain” voters, however, the two are tied at 47 percent, and within the “always vote in gubernatorial elections” segment, Youngkin actually takes a 49-45 percent lead.
This pattern of the most likely voters performing better for the Republican candidates than the sample as a whole is not particularly unusual for what we have previously seen in these two governors’ races, and especially so for Virginia.
In the Commonwealth, Democratic primary turnout was 34,000 people less in 2021 than in the 2017 initial election, a trend contrary to what we’ve seen throughout the nation in the most recent elections. Furthermore, other polls have suggested that the Republican enthusiasm factor for this upcoming vote is definitively greater than among Democratic voters.