From Rasmussen Reports:
With just a week to go in New Jersey’s closely contested race for governor, Republican Chris Christie holds a three-point advantage over incumbent Democratic Governor Jon Corzine.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in New Jersey show Christie with 46% of the vote and Corzine with 43%. While the margin is little changed from a week ago and the week before, the biggest news may be that support for independent candidate Chris Daggett has dropped four points to seven percent (7%). The number of undecided voters is down to four percent (4%).
The decline in support for Daggett comes in a week when several state newspapers endorsed Christie or Corzine, but none followed The (Newark) Star-Ledger’s lead and came out in favor of the independent candidate. Additionally, Christie began a new ad campaign linking Corzine and Daggett.
Christie leads by eight points among those who are certain they will show up and vote. A week ago, he was up by five among that group. Christie’s supporters are also less likely to say they might consider voting for someone else.
Corzine does better among voters who might not make it to the polls. That's one reason President Obama, former President Bill Clinton and other Democratic Party luminaries are spending time in the Garden State in hopes of encouraging turnout.
At this point, there is no possible way to project what will happen on Election Day. The Democrats clearly have an edge in New Jersey when it comes to getting out the vote, which is one reason no Republican has won a statewide race in New Jersey since 1997. It's also impossible to know how much support Daggett will retain.
Measuring the ultimate impact of third-party candidates is always challenging. Many voters initially say they support an independent option and then change their minds as Election Day nears. That’s because they eventually decide to vote for the lesser of two evils between the major party candidates.
Currently, 14% of voters cite Daggett as their first preference. That’s down a couple of points from a week ago. However, only about half that base appears likely to stay with him at this time.
Corzine is now viewed favorably by 41% and unfavorably by 57%. Those numbers are unchanged from a week ago.
Christie’s totals are 49% favorable and 49% unfavorable, generally the same as last week.
Feelings remain stronger about the governor: 40% have a Very Unfavorable view of him while 27% say the same about Christie.
Daggett is now viewed favorably by 42% and unfavorably by 40%. That unfavorable number is up eight points over the past week and 13 points over the past two weeks. Fifteen percent (15%) have a Very Unfavorable opinion of the independent candidate.
Early in the year, Christie held a solid lead over Corzine. The governor’s campaign worked to make Christie an unacceptable alternative and succeeded in driving the negative ratings up for the GOP hopeful. Daggett became a possible candidate for those who didn’t like the governor but also didn’t want to vote for a Republican, so Christie began linking Corzine and Daggett. That has succeeded in driving up Daggett’s negative ratings. About the only thing certain in New Jersey at the moment is that the next governor will be someone that is disliked by at least half the state.
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