Contributions to the presidential candidates between March 1, 2011, and Nov. 26, 2012, from New Jersey ZIP codes. Those in ZIP codes colored blue gave more to President Barack Obama, while those in red ZIP codes contributed more to Republican Mitt Romney, and those in yellow gave the most to one of two independents -- Gary Johnson and Charles "Buddy" Roemer -- for which data was available. Zoom in to a ZIP code, then click on it to see a sum of all the contributions to all candidates.
Source: NJ Spotlight analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission
New Jerseyans contributed $25.4 million to presidential candidates in the last two years of the campaign, with almost all of that given to President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney.
The state ranked 10th in the nation for its generosity to presidential contenders, far behind California, which led all states with almost $147 million in contributions, according to the most current data from the Federal Election Commission, which includes the campaigns’ post-election reports, counting activity through Nov. 26.
In total, all candidates for both primary and general races raised $1.3 billion directly from contributors. That does not include money spent by political committees and so-called Super PACs to support or oppose candidates.
Overall, New Jerseyans contributed to the campaigns as they voted, choosing Obama at the polls and giving more money to the Democrat -- $12.7 million to Obama versus $11.4 million to Romney. Additionally, the Garden State gave $17,290 to Libertarian Gary Johnson and $7,881 to Charles “Buddy” Roemer, a Republican who ran as an independent.
Within New Jersey, the 08540 ZIP code was by far the most politically generous, with a total of 5,020 contributions totaling $1.29 million, with the lion’s share – a little more than $1 million – going to Obama. But the sprawling area, centered in Princeton Township and branching out into portions of nearby Lawrence, Hopewell, West Windsor, Montgomery, Franklin, Plainsboro and South Brunswick, was also one of only seven areas in the state from which people donated to all four candidates for whom the FEC provided data.
An analysis of individual contribution data from 08540 indicates that the influence of what is probably its best known tenant, Princeton University, was partly responsible for its ranking as most generous. While a plurality of contributions, or about 1,200, came from retirees, the second-largest category of donors was professors and other educators – a total of 652. The Princeton area is also a corporate and research hub, and both consultants and executives were also among the biggest contributors, as were homemakers, attorneys, psychotherapists and artists.
While it is one of New Jersey’s most prestigious ZIP codes, 08540 is not its wealthiest, although it ranks in roughly the top 10 percent of the state’s 600 postal areas, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
New Jersey’s wealthiest ZIP code -- 07078, covering Short Hills and Millburn -- was the state’s second-most generous when it came to campaign contributions. People from that area contributed nearly $750,000 to political candidates, but they swung Republican, giving $522,000 to Romney. That postal area was also New Jersey’s most financially supportive of Johnson, giving him $4,600. Census officials estimate the median household income in the Short Hills ZIP code at $228,726, more than $100,000 higher than 08540’s $122,921.
Rounding out the list of the five most generous ZIP codes was 07901 in Summit, giving almost $600,000, and Ridgewood’s 07450, contributing $438,000, both of which leaned toward Romney, and Morristown’s 07960, where residents donated almost $500,000 and gave slightly more to Obama.
The map shows which party and to what degree each ZIP code financially supported the presidential candidates. To see the number and amount of contributions to all candidates from any postal area, click on it.