Resources

Main Menu

Monmouth University Polling Institute

New Jersey

Garden State Race is All Tied Up

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monmouth U/Gannett NJ poll finds weakening support for Christie

There’s just two weeks to go, and the race for New Jersey couldn’t be any tighter.  The latest Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll finds incumbent Jon Corzine and challenger Chris Christie in a dead heat – each candidate now garners the support of 39% of likely voters in the Garden State.  Another 14% say they will vote for independent candidate Chris Daggett.  Earlier this month, Christie held a narrow 3 point lead over Corzine – 43% to 40% – with 8% for Daggett.

A key dynamic in this race is the migration of independent voters from both major party candidates to Chris Daggett.  Currently, 45% of independent voters support Christie, 21% support Corzine and 22% support Daggett.  Before the first gubernatorial debate three weeks ago, Christie claimed nearly half (49%) of the independent vote and Corzine had 28%, while only 11% favored Daggett.

There are also some warning signs in the Republican base.  Chris Christie has the support of 81% of his fellow partisans, but this is down from 86% in the October 1st poll.  Another 8% of GOP voters now give their support to Daggett, up from 3% earlier this month.  At the same time, Jon Corzine has held onto his partisan base, currently garnering 76% of Democratic voters.  The 11% of Democrats who now support Daggett is up slightly from the 8% he got earlier this month.  Currently, 8% of Democrats say they will vote for Republican Christie, but this is down from 17% in August.

“Democrats who flirted with Chris Christie earlier in the year have come back into the fold.  It also looks like some GOP voters may have become disenchanted with their white knight.  That’s not a good sign for the Republican at this late stage of the game,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

 

  Candidate Support by Party 

Likely Voters

Mid Oct 09

Early Oct 09

Sept 09

Aug 09

July 09

Democrats

 

 

 

 

 

Corzine

76%

75%

77%

74%

71%

Christie

8%

8%

10%

17%

15%

Daggett

11%

8%

6%

2%

3%

Other

0%

0%

1%

2%

0%

Undecided

5%

9%

6%

5%

11%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Republicans

 

 

 

 

 

Corzine

6%

7%

7%

9%

9%

Christie

81%

86%

83%

87%

83%

Daggett

8%

3%

5%

2%

3%

Other

1%

0%

1%

0%

0%

Undecided

4%

3%

4%

2%

6%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Independents

 

 

 

 

 

Corzine

21%

28%

30%

24%

26%

Christie

45%

49%

53%

56%

47%

Daggett

22%

11%

4%

7%

7%

Other

2%

2%

2%

4%

1%

Undecided

10%

10%

11%

9%

18%

 

The poll also found further erosion in the Republican candidate’s personal ratings.  Voter opinion of Chris Christie now stands at 40% favorable to 41% unfavorable among likely voters, the first time in this poll that negative views of the GOP nominee have numerically outnumbered positive views.  In July, Christie held a broadly positive 50%-26% rating among likely voters.  The Democrat, Jon Corzine, has an upside down 37% favorable to 51% unfavorable rating, which has been pretty steady among likely voters since July.  And despite making a splash in the first candidate’s debate, independent Chris Daggett has a 28% favorable to 15% unfavorable rating, with more than half (56%) of all likely voters saying they don’t know enough to form an opinion about him.

“Daggett may have hit his ceiling in this race.  Lacking both ground troops and the financial resources necessary to keep his message in front of voters over the final two weeks, it’ll be difficult for him to overcome most voters’ inclination to go with one of the two major party candidates,” said Murray.

Daggett’s rise in the poll came on the heels of unveiling his property tax proposal.  However, only 16% of voters say they have heard about his plan, compared to 19% of voters who say they have heard some property tax plan from Chris Christie and 16% who have heard a plan from Jon Corzine.

When voters are asked to choose who will do a better job on property taxes, just 16% name Daggett.  Christie is preferred by 36%, and 30% choose Corzine.

Christie also gets the nod on handling corruption, 39% to 26% for Corzine and 14% for Daggett.  Voters are divided, though, on who would best deal with economic issues and state spending.  On the economy and jobs, Christie is preferred by 35%, Corzine by 34%, and Daggett by 13%.  On the state budget, Corzine is preferred by 35%, Christie by 34%, and Daggett by 13%.   Governor Corzine is the clear favorite on education, preferred by 41% of voters on this issue compared to 29% for Christie and 11% for Daggett.

And in case you were wondering, property taxes continues to be the issue that voters want addressed in this ever-shortening campaign.  More than half (54%) name it as one of their top two concerns, followed by the economy and jobs (33%), health care (22%), other taxes (21%), state spending (13%), education (11%), and corruption (7%).

Regardless of who is elected governor next month, very few voters have a clear idea what he will do to address these issues.  While about 6-in-10 voters say they have some notion what a Corzine second term or a Christie first term will look like, just 32% feel they have a clear idea what the Democratic incumbent will do over the next four years and only 18% say the same about the Republican challenger.  Only 4-in-10 have some idea what a Chris Daggett administration would do, with just 13% saying they have a clear idea.

An overwhelming 72% of likely voters say the New Jersey governor’s race has been largely negative.  Only 19% would characterize it as positive.  Among those who see the race as negative 36% say Corzine is the bigger transgressor compared to just 12% who say Christie has been more negative.  However, most voters (51%) feel that the two major party candidates have been equally negative in this race.

– Green Acres Bond –

Voters going to the polls on November 3rd will also be asked to approve a $400 million bond measure to fund Green Acres, water supply and floodplain protection, farmland and historic preservation projects, as well as park improvements. Currently, 55% of likely voters indicate they will support the bond, while 32% will vote against and 12% are undecided.  The bond measure garners support from 68% of Democrats, 50% of independents, and 40% of Republicans.

“Past polling on public questions suggests that most undecided voters will fall into the ‘no’ camp on election day.  Still, with 55% approval two weeks before the election, opponents of this borrowing measure have their work cut out for them,” said Murray.

– President Obama –

President Barack Obama’s job rating stands at 53% approve to 39% disapprove among likely voters in New Jersey.  Among those still undecided in the governor’s race, he garners a net positive 44% approve to 35% disapprove.  With the President scheduled to campaign on behalf of Governor Corzine on Wednesday, 12% of voters say such a visit would make them more likely to vote for Corzine, 14% say it would make them less likely, and 73% say a presidential appearance would have no effect on their vote for governor.  Among undecided voters, 5% say a presidential visit would make them more likely to vote for Corzine, but 14% say it would make them less likely.

– Lieutenant Governor –

Despite their moment in the spotlight at the first ever New Jersey Lieutenant Governor’s debate on October 8th, few voters have any impression of the three leading candidates for that post.  Democrat Loretta Weinberg stands at 11% favorable to 9% unfavorable, Republican Kim Guadagno’s ratings are 9% favorable to 4% unfavorable, and independent Frank Esposito has 6% favorable to 4% unfavorable ratings.  The vast majority of voters have no opinion – 80% for Weinberg, 87% for Guadagno, and 90% for Esposito.  These numbers have remained virtually unchanged since the running mates were announced in July.

The Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll was conducted by telephone with 1,004 New Jersey likely voters from October 15 to 18, 2009.  This sample has a margin of error of + 3.1 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute and originally published by the Gannett New Jersey newspaper group (Asbury Park Press, Courier-Post, Courier News, Daily Journal, Daily Record, and Home News Tribune).  

 

The questions referred to in this release are as follows: 

1.     If the election for governor was held today, would you vote for Jon Corzine the Democrat, Chris Christie the Republican, Chris Daggett the independent, or some other candidate?  [If undecided: At this moment do you lean more towards Corzine or more towards Christie?] [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

2.     Please tell me if your general impression of the following candidates is favorable or unfavorable, or if you don’t have an opinion.  [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

           Jon Corzine

           Chris Christie

           Chris Daggett

3.     In your opinion, what are the most important one or two issues that the candidates for governor should talk about? [Note: Results add to more than 100% because multiple responses were accepted] 

[QUESTIONS 4 THROUGH 6 WERE ROTATED]

4.     Has Jon Corzine given you a clear idea, some idea, not much of an idea, or no idea at all about what he would do in his second term as governor?

5.     Has Chris Christie given you a clear idea, some idea, not much of an idea, or no idea at all about what he would as governor?

6.     Has Chris Daggett given you a clear idea, some idea, not much of an idea, or no idea at all about what he would do in his second term as governor?

7.     Regardless of who you may support for governor… Who would do a better job on [READ ITEM] –Corzine, Christie or Daggett? [ITEMS WERE ROTATED]

           The economy and jobs

           Property taxes

           The state budget

           Education

           Reducing corruption

8.     Have you heard of specific plans from any of the candidates for governor about how they would reduce property taxes, or not?  Whose plan have you heard about?  [Note: Results add to more than 100% because multiple responses were accepted]

9.     So far, would you characterize the governor’s race as being generally positive or negative?

[The following question was asked only of those who said “Negative” or “Both” to Q9,moe= +/- 3.5%]

10.   Who has been more negative – Corzine or Christie, or both equally?

11.   I’m going to name the lieutenant governor candidates.  Please tell me if your general impression of each is favorable or unfavorable, or if you don’t really have an opinion.  [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

           Loretta Weinberg

           Kim Guadagno

           Frank Esposito

12.   In addition to the race for governor, there will also be a public question on the ballot.  This measure would authorize the state to issue 400 million dollars in bonds to fund Green Acres, water supply and floodplain protection, and farmland and historic preservation projects.  It will also fund park improvements and facilities.  Will you vote for or against this bond measure?

13.   Do you approve or disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing as president?

14.   If President Obama came to New Jersey to campaign for Jon Corzine, would you be more likely or less likely to vote for Corzine, or would it have no effect either way?

 

The Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll was conducted and analyzed by the Monmouth University Polling Institute research staff.  The telephone interviews were collected on October 15-18, 2009 with a statewide random sample of 1,004 likely voters. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.  Sampling error increases as the sample size decreases, so statements based on various population subgroups, such as separate figures reported by gender or party identification, are subject to more error than are statements based on the total sample.  In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups.

Download this Poll Report with all tables

PDF Download Icon
Poll Image

Monmouth University Poll

West Long Branch, NJ 07764
www.monmouth.edu/polling
Follow on Twitter: @MonmouthPoll

Patrick Murray

732-263-5858 (office)
pdmurray@monmouth.edu
Follow on Twitter: @PollsterPatrick

Get Poll Reports in Your In-Box

If you would like to join our mailing list and receive the latest poll results the day they are released, please enter your contact information in the fields below.

what's your name?
we need your name.
what's your email?
we need your email.
this email is invalid.

Would you like us to submit a question or comment?

Back

Any Questions?

what's your question or comment?
this field cannot be empty.
what's your affiliation?

I'm all done! Click arrow to submit and receive confirmation.

Thank You!

Your email has been submitted to our mailing list. You will receive an email to receive future polls the day they are released.


- Monmouth University Polling Institute