NJ-Gov: Corzine in the Lead
The new Rutgers-Eagleton poll for New Jersey’s gubernatorial race piles more bad news onto the campaign of Republican candidate Chris Christie, seen just a few months back as the all-but-certain next governor of the state. The topline numbers are bad enough: Christie trails Gov. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) by three points, 39 percent to 36 percent, while independent candidate Chris Daggett comes in at a shockingly high 20 percent. But the candidates’ favorable numbers are just as ominous. Christie has fallen to a 39 percent favorable rating, with 42 percent unfavorable. That’s better than Corzine’s 40-52 negative rating, but it indicates that the long, negative campaign has tarnished Christie. It’s a function of a three-way race where one candidate, Daggett, can come off like a white knight and amplify criticism of one candidate. Corzine’s attacks have worked: Among voters concerned about the economy, Corzine crushes Christie by a margin of 57 percent to 24 percent.
I see a little more bad news for Christie here. The smart take on the race is that if Daggett polls around 13 percent or above, Christie loses — the Democratic base is just too large to let Corzine fall below 43 or 44 percent. If Daggett is not fading, and if on Election Day he can stay in the high teens, Christie’s task looks incredibly hard. Also, this poll has Corzine scoring only 74 percent of the African-American vote; most expect him to do at least 10 points better.