Democrats in N.J., V.A. are worried by what they’re seeing two weeks out

Democrats in N.J., V.A. are worried by what they’re seeing two weeks out

Don’t get too excited, Save Jerseyans. There are a myriad of variable capable of influencing Election 2021 results in New Jersey and Virginia, and it goes without saying that Democrats have significant institutional advantages in both the Garden State and the Old Dominion. Notably, here in N.J., a 1+ million vote registration advantage.

With all of that being said, we now have at least one hard piece of evidence suggesting Republicans may be in better shape than the public polls suggest.

In New Jersey, Nikita Biryukov of the recenty-launched NJ Monitor reports that Republicans are – to the surprise of many – very much in the game this year in the early VBM returns:

“…Republicans have, so far, cast vote-by-mail ballots at slightly higher rates than Democrats.

According to vote-by-mail data maintained by Micah Rasmussen, director of Rider University’s Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics, 31.8% of GOP voters who received a mail-in ballot this year have already voted as of Thursday afternoon, compared to 30.9% of Democrats.

‘More significant to me than whether or not they’ve got an edge is that they’re in the game at all,” Rasmussen said. ‘These are Republican voters who do trust vote-by-mail, or they wouldn’t have asked for those ballots. We couldn’t have said that last year, because everybody got them.’”

Nikita also points out that there are a lot more Dems than R’s in New Jersey so Democrats lead in raw VBM’s returned. Like I said, folks: don’t get yourselves too excited. Still, since the Ciattarelli strategy relies heavily on GOP enthusiasm outpacing Democrat excitement in a non-federal cycle, it’s hopeful news for state Republicans hoping for an upset AND legislative pick ups in LD2, 8, 11 and 16.

Meanwhile, in battleground Virginia, early voting is down across-the-board by double-digit margins. The fundraising blasts from Democrat affiliate groups has taken on an air of panic.

It’s therefore no surprise that Dems in both VA and here in New Jersey are pulling out all of the stops, bringing in VIP surrogates and issuing dire warnings to their base. Obama is vising both states in the final days; he’ll rally in Newark next week. Stephen Colbert cut a GOTV video for the Murphy Administration. On Tuesday night, Phil Murphy specifically warned voters to not “sit this one out” in his debate closing remarks.

Because if they do? Murphy knows anything is possible on November 2nd including a historic upset.

Democrats at the national level aren’t doing much to help the cause. Joe Biden has been conspiciously absent (so far) from both states down the homestretch, likely because his national approval rating is in the toilet. The House Democrats’ failure to move any of their major agenda items may also be acting as an enthusiasm depressant for the majority party.

We’ll see where things stand next week, folks. Democrats – especially in Virginia – had better hope it’s a very different picture by then.

FYI: Early in-person voting in New Jersey gets underway next Saturday and runs through Halloween.