Three weeks ago, I predicted that a coming Christie surge in the New Jersey gubernatorial election. And while most serious polls do show Chris Christie, the Republican challenger moving back into the lead against Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine, one respected poll does put the incumbent (comfortably) ahead.
The real question now is how late-deciding voters will break and what percentage of those now favoring independent Chris Daggett will stick with their man and how many will peel off to one of the two major party candidates. According to Politico, one poll shows late-deciders moving in one direction, Daggett voters moving another:
[a] poll from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling finds that late-deciding voters are lining up behind Christie. The poll shows Christie leading Corzine by four points, 42 to 38 percent with Daggett at 13 percent. Christie only led by one point over Corzine in the last PPP survey two weeks ago.
Interestingly, the PPP poll shows that Daggett voters are more likely to support Corzine as a second choice by a 10-point margin, 42 to 32 percent.
That last number surprises me as it contradicts the conventional wisdom that Christie and Daggett are splitting the non-incumbent vote.
Corzine has used her vast resources, spending more than twice as much as his two opponents combined, to boost his Republican adversary’s negatives, but he hasn’t done much to increase his own favorables.
Despite his expenditures–and the Democratic tenor of the Garden State electorate, Corzine’s poll numbers languish in the high 30s and low 40s. The Democrat could still pull this enough, even while remaining unpopular with his constituents.
WAIT A SECOND! Maybe Daggett voters will break for Christie. Jonathan Last notes this tidbit from the Quinnipiac poll showing Corzine “suddenly +5 also shows that 38 percent of Daggett supporters say they might change their mind and that Christie is +16 in that group.”
UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds picks up a nugget about Corzine’s spending that I missed,
MAN OF THE PEOPLE: “New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine (D) has personally furnished $22.6 million of the total of $24.1 existing in his re-election campaign’s coffers — more than 90% of the total — according to the New Jersey Star-Ledger.”