This is the place to find Electionarium’s hot and fresh 2021 New Jersey gubernatorial election predictions. We’ve got the straight scoop on who will win the New Jersey governor’s race on November 2, 2021.
Return to 2021 New Jersey Gubernatorial Race
Return to 2021 US Gubernatorial Elections
2021 New Jersey Gubernatorial Election Predictions: Current
NJ Predictions Commentary, October 7
Very little has changed in the New Jersey gubernatorial election since our last look. Phil Murphy continues to lead in all of the polls, and Jack Ciattarelli has not made up a great deal of ground. The non-partisan polls that matter in New Jersey have Murphy by about 10 points or so.
For Murphy to lose, there would have to be a significant reversal in the final few weeks of the campaign. Murphy has led the entire way; when New Jersey flipped the governorship to the Republicans in 2009, Chris Christie led for much of the campaign. Ciattarelli has not led for any of it and has only been close within Republican-affiliated polling. Even inclusive of the Republican polls from September, Murphy leads by eight.
Republicans winning in New Jersey these days is a difficult task, and unlike with Jon Corzine’s loss in 2009, there is no groundswell of support to remove Murphy. In fact, Murphy’s approval ratings are much higher.
NJ Predictions Commentary, August 1
This race remains Safe Democratic.
Opinion polling indicates that Phil Murphy is ahead by double-digits on Jack Ciattarelli, who doesn’t seem to have mounted much of a challenge to the incumbent governor so far. New Jersey does not seem to be in much of a mood for change, so our rating won’t, either.
NJ Predictions Commentary, February 21
We rate this race as a Safe Democratic hold.
New Jersey is a blue state; nobody is going to question that. In spite of that, we do know that the Garden State has not re-elected a Democratic governor in 44 years. We expect that this will change in 2021, with Murphy riding relatively high in the polls and no notable Republicans stepping forward to oppose him.
Murphy had a favorable climate in which to run and win in 2017. Chris Christie, the outgoing incumbent Republican, was extremely unpopular. Since the Trump win a year earlier in 2016, Democrats started to build momentum which would translate into the 2018 “Blue Wave” and then Joe Biden’s win in 2020. Given those elements and the political geography of the state, it was Murphy’s to lose from the start.
How does it look in 2021? One thing we can say for certain at the start of this cycle is that the Republicans are not any more popular in New Jersey, or anywhere else, than they were prior. Indeed, the GOP bench in this state is thin and getting thinner. To date, no GOP heavyweights have stepped forward, but who would they be, anyway? Jeff Van Drew and Chris Smith are the only two Republican congressmen from the state; Smith is a House lifer and Van Drew has shown no interest. Tom Kean Jr, one of the other better-known Republican politicians in New Jersey, is much more likely for a 2022 House rematch with Tom Malinowski. There are simply no Republicans of stature to run and name identification will be a huge problem.
Finally, Murphy’s popularity will help. As of late 2020, Murphy’s approval rating sat near 60 percent.1 The question voters in the Garden State will have to answer is this: How has he handled the pandemic? New Jersey was among the more restrictive states in terms of their policies, but they also had high numbers. Either way, voters at this point seem appreciative of his efforts for now.
Sources: Further Reading
- Colleen O’Dea, “Another busy election year for Gov. Murphy and the rest in the State House,” NJ Spotlight News, 4 January 2021.