New Jersey's 14 Electors Will Surely Go To Clinton

New Jersey has voted in every presidential election since we became a country. As one of the original 13 colonies, it has always had a say — and a significant one at that. Initially its Electoral College votes were only exceeded by Virginia, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania (New York didn't elect electors in 1789). New Jersey had six; they had 10. The state's number of electors continued to grow and peaked in the period from 1964 to 1980 with 17 and has since decreased somewhat. New Jersey has 14 electors in the Electoral College, and they're almost certainly all going in the Hillary Clinton column.

Nowadays we think of New Jersey as being solidly Democrat, and it is — Clinton is polling about 11 points above Donald Trump. But, believe it or not, since the days of FDR until 1992, the state nearly always voted Republican. Since then it's always been for the Dems, electing Bill Clinton twice and then going for Al Gore and John Kerry before helping President Obama into the White House.

It's easy to consider that normal, but New Jersey is kind of weird. First off, almost the whole state is suburbs — as Micah Cohen pointed out for the FiveThirtyEight blog in 2012, then part of The New York Times. Secondly, the state is really rich — the second highest median income in the country as of 2014 according to the Census Bureau. Republicans love their suburbs, and they tend to be wealthier than Democrats. So then why do the Democrats seem to be doing so much better? Cohen contends it's due to two things:

States often shift politically for two main reasons: migrants and immigrants change the demographic makeup of the state, or a change in policy causes a rift between a party and its voters. In New Jersey, both have occurred, and both have benefited Democrats.

The state has grown increasingly diverse ethnically — by some counts, Jersey City is the second-most diverse city in the country. Minorities tend to support Democrats. But then Cohen explains that the moderate Republicans have turned away from the GOP at the national level in the state because social issues took on too big of a focus in the party platform. That would be the policy rift that he was talking about. Now, four years later all of this holds true.

FiveThirtyEight gives Clinton a 98 percent chance of winning the state, at time of writing. There's always room for doubt, but as far as political predictions go, it's safe to say that the state's 14 electoral votes are safely in Clinton's column — and unless there's a major upset in the country's two major political parties, it's safe to say the state will vote Democrat, at least at the national level, for years to come.