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Tracking Turn-Out in New Jersey and Seeing Some Promise

3:25 PM, Nov 3, 2009 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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Because I'm a cynic (at least about New Jersey), I tend to think New Jersey will either go to Democrats today, or be close enough to steal (especially considering they're already amassing emergency ballots). Nonetheless, let's look at the bright side for a moment. It's that kind of day.

Jim Geraghty has turn-out numbers in morning voting that look better for Christie than Corzine:

A trusted source tells me that as of noon, total turnout in the GOP the swing districts in NJ is significantly outpacing turnout in Democrat districts. The turnout ratio is not quite two to one, but it's not that far from it.

Now, this should NOT be interpreted as ipso facto evidence that Chris Christie is going to win. Democratic districts may have more voters show up later in the day. This isn't an exit poll, and we have no idea how the folks in any of these districts are voting; we just know that they're showing up and voting.

More specifics, but while promising, the trend doesn't hold across the whole state:

The two heaviest turnout counties are Hunterdon, which McCain carried by 13.3 percent over Barack Obama, and Morris County, which McCain carried by 8.1 percent.

Incidentally, turn-out is the No. 1 thing to look for in New Jersey today, per Politico:

Both campaigns and independent observers expect turnout statewide to be about 48 percent to 49 percent. That means at or just above 2.3 million votes.

If it's less than that, Corzine could be in trouble as it will most likely mean unhappy, or just plain uninterested, Democrats are staying home.

"If turnout dips below 47 percent, it's minorities not showing up," said Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray.

To win, Corzine also needs to push the percentage of the electorate that is made up of minority groups above 20 percent.

NJ.com confirms the morning trend, but the after-work crowd is still to come:

"All the feedback I've gotten so far is that not only is it not like last year, but even with the gubernatorial election, we're not getting a big turnout," said Jerry Midgette, the administrator for the Somerset County Board of Elections.

Daggett's unfortunate ballot placement will make him a less-formidable third-party candidate than he might have been. If he's going to siphon off right-leaning votes, those voters are gonna have to search for him:

In Somerset County, his name is on the far right-hand side of the ballot in the first row of the seventh column.

In Morris County, he's just a little to the left - in the first row of column six.

Middlesex has him more in the middle on the first row of Column D.

On a Hunterdon County ballot, he's third from the bottom in Column 1, Row 10.

And in Essex, you'll find him in the fourth row of the second column.

Bottom line is this: Anyone who wants to vote for independent gubernatorial candidate Christopher Daggett in Tuesday's election is going to have to rummage through a crowded ballot to find him.

The trade markets, however, are going 52 percent for Corzine. Intrade also has Hoffman at 81, which seems a bit overblown to me, and McDonnell at 99.