Trump Holds Tight Grip on GOP Primary Voters
A new PPP poll commissioned by the DGA shows a tight race in the New Jersey GOP primary. Jack Ciattarelli holds a narrow six-point lead over Hirsh Singh in what has turned into a messy name-calling brawl. Full toplines of the poll can be viewed here.
The poll shows that former President Donald Trump maintains a tight hold on the New Jersey GOP base. 81% percent of likely Republican primary voters want a candidate who embraces Trump’s agenda, and 87% hold a favorable view of the former president.
Trump’s grip is also evident through the widespread strength of conspiracy theories among the base. In the Garden State, 73% of Republican likely voters believe that the January 6 insurrection was a false flag operation organized by groups opposed to Trump. 71% percent don’t believe Joe Biden was the legitimate winner of the 2020 presidential election and 69% say that the coronavirus pandemic was exaggerated by liberals seeking to undermine Trump’s presidency.
This dynamic has dictated the course of the primary. Singh has unapologetically tied himself to the former president while Ciattarelli is embracing Trump as the “standard-bearer” of the party and adopting his far-right approach to campaigning.
Singh has a higher favorability of 35%-18% — exceeding Ciattarelli, who is at 30%-15%. But Ciattarelli is desperate to claw his way back into the race, spending over $2 million on TV ads.
Micah Rasmussen, director of the Rebovich Institute of New Jersey Politics at Rider University, says Ciatarelli’s campaign “must be seeing the same numbers, which show a generic MAGA approach is a viable strategy for a GOP primary anywhere in the country.”
“The latest PPP poll shows how deeply entrenched the conspiracy theories surrounding COVID, the 2020 election, and January 6 are in the New Jersey GOP primary electorate,” said DGA Senior Communications Advisor Christina Amestoy. “These numbers prove that the race is a litmus test for Trumpism. Any candidate who criticizes the former president or denounces extremism will be doomed by the far-right base. Regardless of who wins, the GOP nominee will be forced to continue catering to Trump’s voters.”