Eagleton Institute of Politics Experts Available To Discuss the New Jersey Primary Election


Expert Pitch

Eagleton Institute of Politics experts are available to provide commentary and analysis on the June 4th New Jersey Primary Election.

The following experts, at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University—New Brunswick, can comment on likely turnout, public opinion trends, and what the results may mean for the November general election and the upcoming 2020 election.

  • John Weingart, associate director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics. Weingart is available to discuss public interest in the primary election, likely turnout, races to watch, and what the results may mean for the November general election and the 2020 election.

Weingart said: “The New Jersey Constitution mandates an electoral calendar that occasionally results in years like this when the State Assembly is at the top of the ballot. When that happens, public interest and turnout tend to be low. This could be changed. One alternative would be to move to a structure like Maryland’s where the governor and legislators in both houses are all elected to the same four-year term.”

For interviews, please contact Gabriella Morrone at 848-932-8809 or gmorrone@eagleton.rutgers.edu.

Matto is also available to speak about how these results may shed light on youth voter trends for the New Jersey general election this November and the 2020 election.

Matto said: “2018 was a watershed year for young adults running for office and winning seats in the United States Congress - 27 Millennials are now serving in the U.S. Congress, 17 of whom are under the age of 35. Will this trend extend to state legislatures? Currently, there are 8 members of the New Jersey State Legislature from the Millennial Generation, the largest and most diverse generation in the nation’s history. I’m looking to see how the generational makeup of the State Legislature transforms in future elections and the extent to which Millennial officeholders reflect the demographics of their generation.

“Voter turnout rates among young adults broke records in 2018, reflecting a more politically interested and engaged segment of the electorate. To some extent, this increase can be attributed to mobilization of young voters by candidates. If campaigns reach out to young voters, they are likely to turn out – I’ll be looking to see if candidates are talking to young New Jersey voters and if young voters are responding by showing up on Election Day.”

For interviews, please contact Gabriella Morrone at 848-932-8809 or gmorrone@eagleton.rutgers.edu.

Koning is available to discuss New Jersey and national public opinion trends and likely voter turnout. Koning is also available to speak about how the primary election results may forecast public opinion trends and voter turnout for the New Jersey November general election and the 2020 election.

Koning said: “Primaries, in particular, are notorious for being low interest, low information, and low turnout elections. And while New Jersey has had some all-time lows for turnout in both primary and general elections in the last two decades, these enthusiasm and turnout gaps are not unique to the Garden State. The last time the NJ General Assembly was at the top of the ticket in 2015, just 5 percent of registered voters turned out to cast their ballot, and just 6 percent cast a ballot in 1999 when the Assembly held the top spot. It would be no surprise to once again see turnout in the low to mid-single digits – especially given the lack of competitive primary races, as well as the lack of higher office on the ballot.”

“Legislative and local elections are typically not on citizens’ radar – and that’s especially true when it comes to primaries.  Our polling has shown that most New Jerseyans are unaware of when legislative elections take place and are unable to correctly identify what office is at the top of the ticket or who their current legislators are. The handful of registered voters who turn out in primary elections are typically the most partisan, the most politically interested, and the most politically engaged.  And even then, these primary voters will heavily rely on partisan cues to determine their vote choice.”

“While legislative elections may not be on New Jerseyans’ radar, who gets elected and the makeup of the Assembly, in particular, has an impact on New Jersey politics. There are a lot of important issues right now – from marijuana legalization to taxes, the economy, and government spending – that the state legislature has a direct hand in. While the partisan balance of the Assembly will not change, who wins the primary in June and then the general in November will of course play an important part in New Jersey policymaking.”

For interviews, please contact Ashley Koning at 838-932-8940 or akoning@rutgers.edu.

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