Survey finds fertile territory for GOP messaging in 2021 N.J. battlegrounds

Survey finds fertile territory for GOP messaging in 2021 N.J. battlegrounds

New Jersey’s gerrymandered legislative districts present an uphill challenge for Republicans every cycle, but the national organization charged with helping elect GOP candidates believes five districts in particular are fertile territory for Republican messaging.

The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) email blasted the polling memo (posted below) to donors last week. 

“Our modeling makes clear that if we hold incumbent Democrat legislators accountable for their extreme agenda, then we have paths to success in these key battleground districts,” wrote RSLC Political Director Edith Jorge-Tuñón, herself a veteran of NJGOP campaigns. 

For example, in LD16, “persuadable voters are13 points more likely to vote for a Republican legislative candidate when made aware that Trenton Democrats have worked to defund and remove legal protections for law enforcement.”

Anti-‘defund the police’ messaging also worked in LD2; Atlantic City officials recently announced that a nightly juvenile curfew would be announced by the sounding of sirens.

Of the districts polled, LD2 and LD16 have incumbent GOP senators who are retiring and LD8 has two GOP Assembly members, one of whom is retiring (Ryan Peters) and the other (Jean Stanfield) who is running for a senate seat. The remaining seats are all presently occupied by Democrats.

The N.J. Assembly is currently 52-28 Democrat and the State Senate is 25-15 Democrat.

TO: Interested Parties 
FROM: Edith Jorge-Tuñon
Deputy Executive Director, RSLC 
DATE: July 9, 2021
RE: New Data Shows Encouraging Signs for New Jersey Republicans

New data shows that the radical liberal agenda being implemented by Governor Murphy and his allies in the legislature is turning New Jerseyans away from the Democratic Party, creating opportunities for down-ballot Republicans in November’s election.

Grassroots Targeting, on behalf of the RSLC, conducted live telephone interviews with 1,700 registered New Jersey voters from across the state from June 20 – June 24 and modeled the results across the entire New Jersey voter file. Two key takeaways from the project: 

1.       The statewide political environment is more advantageous for Republicans than reported in the media. 

2.       As persuadable voters in key legislative districts are informed of the failed liberal records of Democrat incumbents, they become significantly more likely to support a Republican alternative.

THE STATEWIDE POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT

The most promising news for New Jersey Republicans is that Republican legislative candidates are in a solid position statewide.

·         Republicans trail Democrats by just one point on the generic ballot –  (43%-44%)

Despite multiple years in office with allies in the legislature to pass his priorities, Governor Murphy is sitting below 50% on the statewide ballot test.  

KEY MESSAGES MOVE VOTERS AWAY FROM DEMOCRATS

Our survey also found that the extreme liberal positions of Trenton Democrats alienate persuadable voters.

·         In LD-2: Persuadable voters are 10 points more likely to vote for a Republican legislative candidate when they learn Trenton Democrats support giving COVID-19 relief money to illegal immigrants.  They are also 9 points more likely to vote for a Republican legislative candidate when they learn that they will stop the increases in property taxes that have resulted from Democrat leadership. Persuadable voters near Atlantic City are also driven away from Trenton Democrats when informed they have worked to defund and remove legal protections for law enforcement. 

·         In LD-3: Persuadable voters are 10 points more likely to vote for a Republican legislative candidate when they learn that they will stop the increases in property taxes that have resulted from Democrat leadership. These voters are also 9 points more likely to vote for a Republican when informed about teachers’ unions using the pandemic to advance their political agenda. Persuadable voters in Pennsville are just as concerned as persuadable voters in East Greenwich and South Harrison about this issue. 

·         In LD-8: Persuadable voters are 10 points more likely to vote for a Republican legislative candidate when they learn Trenton Democrats support giving COVID-19 relief money to illegal immigrants. They are also 8 points more likely to vote Republican after learning Democrats in the legislature voted to allow Phil Murphy to keep new, unchecked powers previously granted under the guise of the pandemic.

·         In LD-11: Persuadable voters are 12 points more likely to vote for a Republican legislative candidate when they learn that they will stop the increases in property taxes that have resulted from Democrat leadership in Trenton. They are also 9 points more likely to vote Republican after learning Democrats in the legislature voted to give Phil Murphy new, unchecked powers previously granted under the guise of the pandemic.

·         In LD-16: Persuadable voters are 13 points more likely to vote for a Republican legislative candidate when made aware that Trenton Democrats have worked to defund and remove legal protections for law enforcement. This issue is the clear winner among persuadable voters in Princeton specifically.

CONCLUSION

The current political landscape in New Jersey provides us with a chance to make gains in both the Assembly and the state Senate this year. The only obstacle is garnering enough resources to take advantage of the opportunity. Our modeling makes clear that if we hold incumbent Democrat legislators accountable for their extreme agenda, then we have paths to success in these key battleground districts. Our ability to do the work of informing persuadable voters about the contrast between these far-left incumbents and their common-sense conservative challengers depends on your support.