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United States presidential election in New Jersey, 1988

United States presidential election in New Jersey, 1988

November 8, 1988

Nominee George H. W. Bush Michael Dukakis
Party Republican Democratic
Home state Texas Massachusetts
Running mate Dan Quayle Lloyd Bentsen
Electoral vote 16 0
Popular vote 1,743,192 1,320,352
Percentage 56.24% 42.60%

County Results

President before election

Ronald Reagan

Elected President

George H. W. Bush

The 1988 United States presidential election in New Jersey took place on November 8, 1988. All 50 states and the District of Columbia, were part of the 1988 United States presidential election. New Jersey voters chose 16 electors to the Electoral College, which selected the President and Vice President.

Texas, who was running against Democratic Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis. Bush ran with Indiana Senator Dan Quayle while Dukakis ran with Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen.

Bush carried New Jersey with 56.24% of the vote, while Dukakis received 42.60%, a 13.64% margin of victory. [1]

New Jersey weighed in for this election as almost 6% more Republican than the national average.

Bush won 18 of New Jersey's 21 counties, with Dukakis only winning the heavily Democratic counties of Mercer County, Essex County, and Hudson County. This remains the last election in which a Republican presidential candidate has won Union County, Middlesex County, Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Cumberland County, and Atlantic County. All of these counties would become reliably Democratic in every election that has followed as suburban voters shifted away from the GOP in the 1990s. Consequently, this would also be the last time that New Jersey as a whole would cast its electoral votes for a Republican presidential nominee, and New Jersey would subsequently become regarded as a solid blue state in modern elections.


  • Partisan background 1
  • Republican victory 2
  • Results 3
  • By county 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6

Partisan background

International policy with the buckling Bush can be seen here standing with then United States President Ronald Reagan and Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev, on the New York waterfront, 1988.
Bush delivering the now infamous "Read my lips..." line at the 1988 Republican National Convention.

The presidential election of 1988 was a very partisan election for New Jersey, with more than 99% of the electorate voting for either the Democratic or Republican parties, though a total of 11 parties did appear on the ballot.[2]

Republican victory

Bush won the election in New Jersey with a strong 13.6 point margin. This is the most recent presidential election where New Jersey sent Republican electors to the Electoral College. The election results in New Jersey are reflective of a nationwide political re-consolidation of base for the Republican Party, which took place in the through the 1980s. Through the passage of some very controversial economic programs, spearheaded by then President Ronald Reagan (called, collectively, "Reaganomics"), the mid-to-late 1980's saw a period of economic growth and stability. The hallmark for Reaganomics was, in part, the wide-scale deregulation of corporate interests, and tax cuts for the wealthy.[3]

Dukakis ran on a notably socially liberal agenda, and advocated for higher economic regulation and environmental protection. Bush, alternatively, ran on a campaign of continuing the social and economic policies of former President Reagan - which gained him much support with social conservatives and people living in rural areas, who largely associated the Republican Party with the economic growth of the 1980s. Additionally, while the economic programs passed under Reagan, and furthered under Bush and Clinton, may have boosted the economy for a brief period, they are criticized by many analysts as "setting the stage" for economic troubles in the United State after 2007, such as the Great Recession.[4]


United States presidential election in New Jersey, 1988
Party Candidate Votes Percentage Electoral votes
Republican George H. W. Bush 1,743,192 56.24% 16
Democratic Michael Dukakis 1,320,352 42.60% 0
Peace and Freedom Party Herbert Lewin 9,953 0.32% 0
Libertarian Ron Paul 8,421 0.27% 0
New Alliance Party Lenora Fulani 5,139 0.17% 0
Progressive Eugene McCarthy 3,454 0.11% 0
Socialist Willa Kenoyer 2,587 0.08% 0
America First David Duke 2,446 0.08% 0
Socialist Workers Party James Warren 2,298 0.07% 0
Workers World Larry Holmes 1,020 0.03% 0
Socialist Equality Party Edward Winn 691 0.02% 0
Totals 3,099,553 100.0% 16
Voter Turnout (Voting age/Registered) 52%/77%

By county

County Bush Votes Dukakis Votes Others Votes
Sussex 71.9% 36,086 27.3% 13,676 0.8% 398
Hunterdon 69.1% 31,907 29.8% 13,758 1.1% 517
Morris 68.0% 127,420 31.4% 58,721 0.6% 1,108
Ocean 65.4% 124,587 33.8% 64,474 0.8% 1,497
Cape May 65.1% 28,738 34.2% 15,105 0.6% 274
Warren 64.5% 21,715 34.6% 11,640 0.9% 311
Somerset 63.7% 67,658 35.2% 37,406 1.1% 1,129
Monmouth 61.1% 147,320 38.1% 91,844 0.7% 1,793
Salem 59.5% 15,240 38.9% 9,956 1.6% 410
Gloucester 58.7% 51,708 40.3% 35,479 1.1% 930
Burlington 58.3% 87,416 40.8% 61,140 0.9% 1,393
Bergen 58.2% 226,885 41.2% 160,655 0.6% 2,393
Atlantic 56.3% 44,748 42.9% 34,047 0.8% 647
Passaic 55.9% 88,070 42.1% 66,254 2.0% 3,189
Middlesex 54.3% 143,422 44.4% 117,149 1.3% 3,548
Union 54.3% 112,967 44.8% 93,158 1.0% 2,028
Cumberland 53.8% 26,024 45.2% 21,869 0.9% 456
Camden 52.0% 100,072 47.1% 90,704 0.9% 1,739
Mercer 48.3% 65,384 50.8% 68,712 0.9% 1,249
Hudson 45.7% 84,334 53.4% 98,507 0.9% 1,622
Essex 40.3% 111,491 56.4% 156,098 3.4% 9,378

See also

  • Gulf War
  • Presidency of George H. W. Bush


  1. ^ "1988 Presidential General Election Results - New Jersey". Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved 14 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2013-07-21. 
  3. ^ "Since 1980s, the Kindest of Tax Cuts for the Rich". The New York Times. 2012-01-18. Retrieved 2013-07-21. 
  4. ^ Jerry Lanson (2008-11-06). "A historic victory. A changed nation. Now, can Obama deliver?". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2013-07-21. 
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