Lucky New Jersey TV viewers will be spared an onslaught of presidential campaign ads this fall. A Newark Star-Ledger/Eagleton-Rutgers poll released Sunday shows Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry has the state effectively wrapped up, beating Bush by 20 points, complete with a whopping 25 point gender gap lead among women. That means neither campaign is likely to spend a dime on ad time this fall trying to reach New Jersey's increasingly affluent and Democratic-leaning voters. Some Republicans had been holding out slight hope for the Garden State, spurred on by an earlier Star-Ledger/Eagleton poll released from May that showed Kerry leading by just 6 points. That, along with New Jersey's proximity to New York City, had some Republicans hoping perhaps Bush had earned a permanent 9/11 bounce.
No such luck. Bush managed support from just 32 percent of New Jersey voters, compared to Kerry's 52. At the same time, Bush's "very unfavorable" rating went up statewide, from 31 percent in May, to 37 percent in August.
Eric Boehlert, a former senior writer for Salon, is the author of "Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush."