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« Countdown '09: New Jersey and Virginia (12 Days) | Blog Home Page | FL Sen: Rubio Cuts Into Crist's Primary Lead »

Eagleton Poll Gives Corzine 3-Point Lead; Daggett At 20

A new Rutgers Eagleton poll gives Gov. Jon Corzine (D) a 3-point lead with less than two weeks to go in the New Jersey gubernatorial race. With this survey, Corzine has taken a lead in the RCP Average of polling for the very first time.

General Election Matchup
Corzine 39
Christie 36
Daggett 20
Don't Know 5

Asked for their second choice, 34 percent of Daggett's voters say they would pick Christie, while 28 percent say Corzine and 24 percent say they would not vote at all. Daggett is tied among voters who say they've heard a lot about his property tax plan; but Corzine actually pulls ahead among those who say they've heard nothing about it -- which is a quarter of the electorate.

"Daggett continues to draw fairly evenly from both major party candidates," said Eagleton's Dave Redlawsk. "However, in a close race, it may make a difference that Daggett voters are people who would have been slightly more on Christie's side than on Corzine's in a two-way race. The underlying question is whether current Daggett supporters really will vote for him on Election Day, or whether they will opt for their second choice, one of the major party candidates."

Redlawsk also states: "While Daggett is clearly having an impact on this race, it seems that on the current trajectory, the vote would have to be very close for his candidacy to make the deciding difference. ... It's important to remember, however, that in two recent New Jersey Governor's races (in 1993 and 1997), the victor's margin was only about 1 percent of the vote."

Corzine and Christie are tied amongst men, 38-38, but Corzine has a 6-point advantage among women. His campaign's attacks on Christie over the mammogram issue has become a defining issue in the race

Favorable Ratings
Corzine 40 / 52
Christie 39 / 42
Daggett 31 / 15

Corzine's job approval rating is 29 percent, with 70 percent disapproving.

Voter engagement in the race appears to be lukewarm, with 36 percent saying they are following the election "very closely," and only 38 percent say they've watched or listened to one of the candidate debates. That factor is one reason why Democrats have brought in national surrogates to generate free media attention on New York and Philadelphia television stations that otherwise tend not to cover Garden State politics closely.

The survey of 583 likely voters was conducted October 15-20, with a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percent.