Monday, June 06, 2005

Recent History Suggests Schundler Can Win

Polipundit's Alexander McClure notes today's swing in the Quinnipiac poll, showing Forrester and Schundler in a dead heat with 10% undecided. Some of the commenters think poorly of Schundler's chances:

NYC Steve: Schundler will pull it off. AND then lose by 15 points in November
NY Andy: Assuming he gets the nomination, if history is an example then the NJ GOP will abandon their own nominee.

I think they may be wrong. Going back over the last five elections for Governor in New Jersey, I noticed an interesting pattern in the data.

1. The incumbent party lost votes in a 2nd election. Florio's vote total in 1993 was 170k less than in 1989, and Whitman's 1997 total was 103k under 1993.
2. Losing as a challenger to the incumbent party may improve your statewide chances in the next cycle. In 2001, McGreevey increased his total by 149k votes over 1997. The seat was effectively open as the acting Governor was not in the race.

This suggests a maximum potential swing of about 285k votes -- incumbent party loses 136k, returning challenger gains 149k. Granted, five data points aren't a whole lot upon which to base trend analysis, but this is as good as anything else out there.

In the primary tomorrow, Republican voters should keep this in mind. No matter who wins the nomination, he will need the support of the entire party. If we take our ball and go home because our guy didn't win the nomination, then a Corzine victory becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Get out and vote in the primary, and get involved in supporting the Republican nominee.