NJ voters support Joe Biden more than Hillary Clinton in 2016, new poll reports
The Ocean County Clerk's office explains what you will find inside the mail-in ballot and how to prepare it for the upcoming election. Asbury Park Press
TEANECK - Vice President Joe Biden is expected to carry New Jersey by an overwhelming majority and voters are expected to legalize marijuana at a nearly two-to-one margin, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll released Friday.
About 53% of New Jersey voters said they planned to vote for Biden, the Democratic candidate, in the 2020 presidential election, one point higher than the percentage of voters who supported Hillary Clinton at the same point during the last presidential race.
President Donald Trump has just 38% support in his re-election campaign, according to the poll.
"New Jersey remains a very dependable blue state and what is clear from this survey is that in 2020 it’s moved even further into that dark blue zone, with Trump losing ground among voters since the last election," FDU poll director Krista Jenkins said.
The ticket of Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential candidate, has higher support among New Jersey women (62%) and voters from 18 to 34 years old (61%) than the ticket of Clinton and Sen. Tim Kaine had in an early October 2016 poll.
Men, on the other hand, are seemingly split between Trump (46%) and Biden (44%).
But the poll shows one key difference in which voters choose Trump or Biden. About 81% of Trump voters said they were driven by their support of the president. But among Biden voters, only 53% said they were driven by Biden himself. The other 47% simply oppose Trump.
"Perhaps a Republican ticket would be faring better even in New Jersey if the nominee didn’t engender so much animus," Jenkins said. "It’s not that New Jersey Democrats love their candidate. With only half of all likely voters who support Biden being motivated by genuine affection for their candidate, to many Biden is a proxy for an ‘anything but Trump’ candidate."
Trump and Biden supporters plan to take different paths to casting a vote for their candidate, according to the poll. About 53% of Trump voters said they will still visit a polling place on Election Day, where state law dictates they'll fill out a provisional paper ballot. Meanwhile, 59% of Biden voters said they planned on submitting a mail-in ballot.
Voice of the Voters: What voters across the Northeast are saying about the 2020 presidential election?
About 51% of all New Jersey voters believe universal vote-by-mail is safe, according to the poll — including about 74% of Democrats and 48% of independents but just 26% of Republicans.
Mail-in voting: Trump casts vote by mail in Florida
"Raising doubts about the legitimacy of voting by mail has been a Trump and Republican talking point for months," Jenkins said. "The only ones who appear to be listening are Republican voters, however, as even independents are more apt to trust than distrust the votes cast by mail."
NJ marijuana legalization
The FDU poll also shows that 61% of likely voters will vote "yes" on a ballot question to legalize marijuana in New Jersey, one of four states with marijuana questions this election cycle.
Just 29% of likely voters said they will vote against the ballot question.
That support is largely unchanged since April, when a Monmouth University poll also reported that 61% of voters supported legalizing weed.
A majority of voters across party lines said they'd vote "yes" on the marijuana legalization question, including 69% of Democrats, 54% of independents and 51% of Republicans. The only demographic in which marijuana legalization isn't favored by a majority — across racial, political, age, education and regional lines — are voters over the age of 55, of which 48% said they'd vote for legal weed.
In 2018, an FDU poll asked voters if they'd rather legalize weed, decriminalize it or make no changes to the state's marijuana laws. In that poll, just 42% said they favored marijuana legalization while 26% said they'd rather decriminalize it.
"Support was well beneath a majority, let alone anything that approached the support we’re seeing today," Jenkins said. "The legislative maneuver to give voters the say looks like it will wind up with a decisive pro-pot outcome."
Ocean County Clerk Scott M. Colabella describes the operation underway to produce over 400,000 mail-in ballot packages. Asbury Park Press
Mike Davis has spent the last decade covering New Jersey local news, marijuana legalization, transportation and basically whatever else is going on at any given moment. Contact him at email@example.com or @byMikeDavis on Twitter.