A George Wallace story

A poll of New Jersey voters taken three weeks before the 1968 presidential election had independent George Wallace with 14% of the vote, with Richard Nixon leading Hubert Humphrey by a 43%-38% margin. Both parties agreed that Wallace was taking more votes from the Democrats than the Republicans.

A Gallup poll conducted outside two New Jersey auto plants had Wallace getting 73% of the vote among 500 members of the United Auto Workers Union. “Listen, the men in the plants want to zap the Negros by voting for Wallace. It’s that simple. And I don’t see how anyone can stop them,” a UAW official told the New York Times in a quote that 41 years later appears rather incredible.

On Election Day, Nixon carried New Jersey by 61,261 votes, 46%-44%. Wallace took 9%, less than where he was polling, receiving 262,187 votes.

In 1980, an October Eagleton-Rutgers poll had Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter tied at 36%, with independent John Anderson at 10%. On Election Day, Reagan won 52%-39%, with 8% for Anderson. But a 1992 Eagleton-Rutgers poll, also taken in October, had independent Ross Perot at 9%; he wound up getting 16% on Election Day. Bill Clinton carried New Jersey 43%-41% over George H.W. Bush.

A George Wallace story