Democrats have a fourteen point voter registration edge over Republicans in New Jersey, 34%-20%, according to a summary released by the state Division of Elections last Thursday. But nearly half of New Jersey voters (46%) are not affiliated with a political party.
Since October 2008, Democratic voter registration has actually declined, by 15,430 voters, while the number of registered Republicans has increased by 6,794. The total number of registered voters in New Jersey has decreased by 142,328 over the last year.
Unaffiliated voters, commonly but incorrectly referred to as independents, represent the largest voting bloc in 19 of 21 counties. Only Essex and Hudson have less unaffiliated voters than registered Democrats.
Democrats have a voter registration edge in fifteen counties, while there are more Republicans than Democrats in only Cape May, Hunterdon, Morris, Ocean, Sussex and Warren counties. A surge in party registration in 2008, likely to participate in a February Democratic presidential primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, helped Democrats take the voter registration lead in Burlington, Monmouth and Somerset counties. Republicans control county government in Burlington and Somerset, and had a majority on the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders until ten months ago.
Just before the 2007 general election, Burlington County had 746 more Republicans than Democrats. Now there are 27,587 more Democrats than Republicans. Democrats won a Surrogate race in '07, and last year picked up two Freeholder seats and the County Clerk.
Monmouth County had 10,779 more Republicans than Democrats in the fall of 2007. Now there are 8,375 more Democrats. Democrats picked up Freeholder seats in each of the last three general elections and now have a 3-2 majority on the Board of Freeholders.
New Jersey has not elected a Republican to statewide office since 1997; since then, 49 other states have elected at least one Republican statewide officeholder. That year, when Gov. Christine Todd Whitman narrowly won re-election to a second term, Democrats had a voter registration edge of six percentage points (25%-19%), with 55% of the voters remaining unaffiliated with any party. (One-quarter of one percent of voters that year declared themselves to be Independents.)
Since the last Republican statewide victory, New Jersey has 625,533 more registered Democrats, and 189,848 more registered Republicans. The number of unaffiliated voters has dropped over the last twelve years by 135,532.
Click here to view statewide voter registration summary.