Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Why Somerset & Middlesex lean toward North Jersey

If you looked at all of the evidence in the last post, and are still unconvinced about why we included ALL of Middlesex and Somerset counties into North Jersey here is one more reason: PRINCETON.
Princeton, at the northeast part of Mercer County, was thought of as North by most state residents who we interviewed and polled.

I did see a pattern of "education bias" in the polling. Many of those interviewed (rightly or wrongly) associated North Jersey as more cultured, and thus felt it was natural to "bring Princeton along." This was common in the North-Central counties, but I was also surprised about how many South Jersey residents agreed.

I also bought into it, partly because I grew up in Mercer County.

It is uncanny how the towns in Mercer that revolve more around Trenton (Ewing, Hamilton, Robbinsville & the southern part of Lawrence) differ from those that revolve around Princeton (Hopewell, West Windsor & the northern part of Lawrence). East Windsor was the toughest to figure out.

Another amazing stat - look at the residents of MERCER COUNTY. They were uncharacteristically united in their vote. 93% of them said Princeton leaned to North Jersey.

The following is the poll of people who thought Princeton was NORTH Jersey. North or South was the only choice - no Central. Each County had 30 residents polled (630 people total), and if you don't think that is a lot, sorry. It took me a LONG time to do!

NJ Residents by county who thought Princeton was North Jersey:

Bergen - 47%
Passaic - 17%
Sussex - 27%
Hudson - 33%
Essex - 43%
Morris - 53%
Union - 53%
Warren - 77%
Somerset - 67%
Hunterdon - 70%
Middlesex - 73%
Mercer - 93% . . . very surprising
Monmouth - 90% . . . very surprising also
Ocean - 73%
Burlington - 87%
Atlantic - 80%
Camden - 77%
Gloucester - 83%
Cape May - 100%
Cumberland - 100%
Salem - 97%

Princeton's average was 69% NORTH . . . well above the required 50.01% to tip it to North, thus taking its northern neighbors in Somerset & Middlesex counties along.

But, wait - there are 3 towns in southern Middlesex that are technically south of Princeton: Cranbury, Plainsboro & Monroe Township. What about them?
Well - I had to do some even heavier groundwork there.

Monore was easier to lean North because of its area code not being 609. I also interviewed guys within the fire department there who seemed to indicate a more "North Jersey" preference, while hinting that their southern neighbors in Millstone were culturally different.
NOTE: Cops & Firefighters, though they wouldn't be filmed, were some of my best overall sources. No group had a better "pulse on the town" than them.

Cranbury students attend Princeton High School - thus linking Cranbury's destiny with Princeton.

Plainsboro, the northernmostof the 3 towns, has a new Village Center which is pretty much at the same latitude as Princeton's Train Station.

But as you can see by the last post, latitude is really a secondary thing. Plainsboro & Cranbury are culturally linked to Princeton and above all else, that's what matters here.


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