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NJ Governor’s Race Shifts but Stays Tight

Monday, Nov. 2, 2009

Corzine takes slim two point lead over weekend

In polling conducted over the final weekend of this campaign, the Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll  finds the race is still in a statistical no man’s land, but that incumbent Jon Corzine now appears to have a razor thin 43% to 41% lead over challenger Chris Christie.  Independent Chris Daggett holds at 8%.  This marks a slight, albeit statistically insignificant, shift from the 43% to 42% nominal lead Christie held in polling conducted from Wednesday through Friday.

“This race is still as close as it can be.  It’s possible that President Obama’s visit boosted the governor’s chances.  But it is also likely that some anti-Corzine voters are still unsure of casting their lot with Christie.  If the undecided vote breaks largely for the Republican, this race could be a squeaker,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Both major party candidates run strong among their partisan bases, although Christie has dropped by a few points in the past couple of days.  Republican voters give 82% support to their party’s nominee, compared to 10% for Corzine and 4% for Daggett.  Democratic voters give 77% support to their party’s nominee, compared to 8% for Christie and 7% for Daggett.  Independent voters shifted the most over the weekend.  In the prior poll, Christie had a 51% to 29% lead over Corzine.  He now holds a smaller 43% to 33% advantage among independents.

The poll also finds that about 6% of New Jersey voters have already cast their ballot by mail, similar to the percentage of mail ballots received in last year’s presidential race.  For these ballots, Jon Corzine looks to have the decided advantage.  A majority of 53% of mail voters say they voted for the incumbent, compared to just 31% for Christie, 11% for Daggett and 5% for other candidates.

“Last year, the Democrats demonstrated the ability to use the state’s new vote by mail rules to their advantage.  It didn’t really matter in the presidential race where the outcome was never in doubt.  But if the machine count has the race too close to call and they’re still counting mail ballots late into the night, it could be a good sign for Corzine,” said Murray.

The poll found that Jon Corzine’s job performance rating stands at 36% approve to 54% disapprove, which is basically unchanged from prior polls.  However, his personal rating has improved, now registering at 40% favorable to 44% unfavorable.   While still in net negative territory, this is better than the 39% to 49% personal rating the governor had last week.

Chris Christie’s personal rating is a net positive 40% favorable to 38% unfavorable.  This is down slightly from last week’s 44% to 36% rating.  It is also down significantly from the 50% favorable to 26% unfavorable rating he held back in July.

Chris Daggett’s personal rating remains steady at 21% favorable to 21% unfavorable, with the majority (58%) of likely voters saying they never really formed an opinion of the independent candidate.

Candidate Support by Party
Likely Voters Oct 31- Nov 1Oct 28-30 Mid Oct 09Early Oct 09Sept 09Aug 09July 09
Democrats              
Corzine 77% 77% 76% 75% 77% 74% 71%
Christie 8% 11% 8% 8% 10% 17% 15%
Daggett 7% 9% 11% 8% 6% 2% 3%
Other 2% 0% 0% 0% 1% 2% 0%
Undecided 5% 3% 5% 9% 6% 5% 11%
               
Republicans              
Corzine 10% 6% 6% 7% 7% 9% 9%
Christie 82% 86% 81% 86% 83% 87% 83%
Daggett 4% 5% 8% 3% 5% 2% 3%
Other 1% 0% 1% 0% 1% 0% 0%
Undecided 3% 3% 4% 3% 4% 2% 6%
               
Independents              
Corzine 33% 29% 21% 28% 30% 24% 26%
Christie 43% 51% 45% 49% 53% 56% 47%
Daggett 12% 10% 22% 11% 4% 7% 7%
Other 2% 3% 2% 2% 2% 4% 1%
Undecided 10% 6% 10% 10% 11% 9% 18%

The Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll  was conducted by telephone with 722 New Jersey likely voters from October 31 to November 1, 2009.  This sample has a margin of error of ± 3.7 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).

DATA TABLES 

The questions referred to in this release are as follows: 

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

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]

 

Likely Voters

PARTY IDGENDERRACEAGE

REGION

 

Dem

IndRepMaleFemaleWhiteBlack &
Hispanic
18-3435-5455+NorthCentral

South

Corzine43%77%33%10%39%46%36%64%49%38%44%47%42%36%
Christie41%8%43%82%46%36%47%25%38%45%38%38%39%50%
Daggett8%7%12%4%8%8%9%2%6%9%9%8%10%6%
Other candidate2%2%2%1%2%2%2%1%1%3%1%2%2%1%
(VOL) Don’t know7%5%10%3%5%9%6%6%6%6%8%5%7%7%
Unwtd N

722

22926521134837459874129331255329177

205

TREND: Likely votersOct 31-Nov 1
2009
Oct 28-30
2009
Mid Oct
2009
Early Oct
2009
Sept.
2009
Aug.
2009
July
2009
Corzine 43%42%39%40%39%36%37%
Christie 41%43%39%43%47%50%45%
Daggett 8%8%14%8%5%4%4%
Other candidate 2%1%1%1%1%2%1%
(VOL) Don’t know 7%5%7%8%7%8%13%
Unwtd N 

722

10411004527531484

527

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

 Likely VotersPARTY IDVOTE CHOICE
 

Dem

IndRepCorzineChristieDaggett

Undecided

Favorable40%73%33%13%88%4%22%31%
Unfavorable44%10%52%77%3%91%56%16%
No opinion/Don’t recognize16%18%16%10%9%5%22%53%
Unwtd N

722

22926521125729662

92

TREND: Likely votersOct 31-Nov 1
2009
Oct 28-30
2009
Mid Oct
2009
Early Oct
2009
Sept.
2009
Aug.
2009
July
2009
Favorable 40%39%37%40%37%37%41%
Unfavorable 44%49%51%49%53%53%50%
No opinion/Don’t recognize 16%12%12%10%10%10%9%
Unwtd N 

722

10411004527531484

527

Chris Christie

 

Likely
Voters

PARTY ID

VOTE CHOICE

 

Dem

IndRepCorzineChristieDaggett

Undecided

Favorable40%9%41%78%4%91%12%16%
Unfavorable38%62%36%13%74%4%70%18%
No opinion/Don’t recognize22%29%24%9%22%5%18%66%
Unwtd N

722

22926521125729662

92

TREND: Likely votersOct 31-Nov 1
2009
Oct 28-30
2009
Mid Oct
2009
Early Oct
2009
Sept.
2009
Aug.
2009
July
2009
Favorable 40%44%40%41%48%49%50%
Unfavorable 38%36%41%39%30%33%26%
No opinion/Don’t recognize 22%19%19%19%22%18%24%
Unwtd N 

722

10411004527531484

527

Chris Daggett

 

Likely
Voters

PARTY ID

VOTE CHOICE

 

Dem

IndRepCorzineChristieDaggett

Undecided

Favorable21%16%30%18%14%18%82%15%
Unfavorable21%16%20%29%19%33%1%8%
No opinion/Don’t recognize58%68%50%52%68%49%17%78%
Unwtd N

722

22926521125729662

92

TREND: Likely votersOct 31-Nov 1
2009
Oct 28-30
2009
Mid Oct
2009
Early Oct
2009
Sept.
2009
Aug.
2009
July
2009
Favorable 21%22%28%17%11%11%7%
Unfavorable 21%22%15%8%6%9%10%
No opinion/Don’t recognize 58%56%56%75%83%80%82%
Unwtd N 

722

10411004527531484

527

3. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Jon Corzine is doing as governor?

 

Likely
Voters

PARTY ID

VOTE CHOICE

 

Dem

IndRepCorzineChristieDaggett

Undecided

Approve36%65%28%11%78%4%14%24%
Disapprove54%21%63%84%12%95%71%40%
(VOL) Don’t know10%14%9%5%10%0%15%36%
Unwtd N

722

22926521125729662

92

TREND: Likely votersOct 31-Nov 1
2009
Oct 28-30
2009
Early Oct
2009
Sept.
2009
Aug.
2009
July
2009
Approve 36%35%41%34%35%40%
Disapprove 54%55%55%58%58%53%
(VOL) Don’t know 10%10%5%9%7%7%
Unwtd N 

722

1041527531484

527

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 31 to November 1, 2009 with a statewide random sample of 722 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 3.7 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 crosstabs