Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Quinnipiac has a new poll out in the New Jersey governors race, and like the recent Rasmussen poll offers some choices. Instead of a leaners/without leaners distinction, though, Quinnipiac provides us with both a two-person and three-person race perspective. Coincidentally, the two-way race with independent candidate, Chris Daggett, excluded, looks an awful lot like the "with leaners" version of the Rasmussen poll last week. [Both polls show a 53-41 advantage for Christie.] With Daggett included, Christie's and Corzine's numbers trail off a bit. Christie maintains a fairly significant advantage either way, but with Daggett in the picture, the Republican's advantage is 47-38 over the incumbent Democrat. [Daggett comes in at 8%.]
A few of notes:
1) FHQ's policy has always been to include the polls that account for third party candidates when available. The third party candidate is in the race, after all, and as such, the version with said candidate included is theoretically the more accurate depiction of reality. [Yeah, we could probably debate that logic.] We employed the same methodology in last year's electoral college updates as well.
2) That said, Daggett's share of the "vote" in this survey strikes me as a touch high. In other polls since the beginning of 2009, "someone else"/generic "other" candidate (other than Corzine or Christie) has never exceeded 6%. That's a poor comparison, but Daggett has yet to be included in any Quinnipiac poll prior to this just-released survey.
3) Just for the sake of transparency, if the numbers from the two-way race were used, the same 47.2-38.2 spread from the last New Jersey update would have been maintained (as opposed to the drop you see both above and below in the graph).
The major take-home message from this poll is that, the independent polls in this race are not showing the same things Corzine's internal polling seems to be indicating. Christie may be back under the 50% mark (a level the Republican exceeded for much of June after his primary victory), but Corzine does not seem to be breaking that 40% barrier anymore either. Just after the June 2 primary, FHQ got in its time machine and took a trip back to the two most recent instances of incumbent Democrats seeking re-election in New Jersey. Of those two instances, Corzine's current position is still closer to Byrne's (1977) than Florio's (1993) simply because Corzine, like Byrne, is trailing by double digits in July. Whether Corzine can repeat the Byrne comeback is yet to be seen. The climb is an steep one, but not an unmanageable one.
NOTE: The Quinnipiac poll also did not have a question about how firm respondents were in their current choices or the likelihood they would switch candidates between now and November. That was the one silver lining for Corzine in the Rasmussen poll last week.
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