New Jersey’s June primaries mean the state often votes on primary candidates after both parties’ nominating contests are all but decided. (Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)
Most New Jerseyans want a bigger say in presidential primaries.
A Monmouth University Poll released Thursday found 52% of New Jersey adults back moving the state’s primaries from June to February, including majorities of Democrats (60%) and independents (53%).
The poll’s findings come as a top New Jersey Democrat last month urged national Democratic leaders to consider adding New Jersey to the list of early primary states, arguing its diverse and compact nature would make it a better venue than overwhelmingly white states like Iowa and New Hampshire that currently occupy the earliest slots.
“A shake-up of the nation’s presidential primary calendar is long overdue. New Jersey’s Democratic leadership has put in a bid to be among the first contests and most of the party’s rank-and-file are on board with that,” Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said in a statement.
New Jersey’s June primaries mean the state often votes on primary candidates after both parties’ nominating contests are all but decided.
When voting started in the 2020 presidential primary, 11 Democrats were vying for their party’s nomination. By the time New Jersey voted in June, only two candidates were on the ballot, now-President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Sanders had already withdrawn from the race.
Other states, like Nevada, have asked their primaries be moved up, and the Democratic National Committee has proposed rules changes that would allow states to apply for an early primary slot. The party organization is expected to vote on that proposal in late summer or early fall.
Republican New Jerseyans are less on board with the idea. Just 39% of Republicans back moving New Jersey’s primary. Overall, 34% of residents oppose the shift, and 14% are unsure.
In 2008, New Jersey and several other states moved their primaries up to early February to boost their influence over what was then a tight primary contest between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
The poll surveyed 802 New Jersey adults and has a margin of error of 3.5%.
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