Thursday, July 16, 2009

State of the Race: New Jersey Governor (7/16/09)

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On the day President Obama is to arrive in New Jersey to appear at a Corzine rally, the incumbent Democrat continues to lag almost ten points behind Chris Christie based on a new Monmouth poll [pdf]. Jon Corzine trails his Republican counterpart by a count of 45-37 (with independent candidate, Chris Daggett, polling at about 4%), but will an Obama visit help or is Corzine too far gone? The polling has been consistent in this race recently, thus the relative stability of FHQ's graduated weighted average. However, despite all this July evidence, there is at least some hope in this poll that Cozine can mount some modicum of a comeback.

Monmouth was at least kind enough to score respondents' answer on a 7 point scale similar to that of the traditional party identification measure. And that provides us with some measure of who remains persuadable as summer inches toward fall. Among those who named a candidate and are strongly behind their choice, Christie led in this poll 29-25, leaving 46% as either undecided or weak/leaning toward one of the candidates. When and if that particular number begins to drop, keep an eye on Corzine's numbers. If the incumbent is not gaining ground then, he's in for a long autumn.

*As was the case in the Quinnipiac poll two days ago, Christie is pulling in an above average share of the minority vote. The Q poll showed him at 29% among African Americans while this Monmouth poll has the Republican just under the one-quarter mark (24%) among African Americans and Hispanic combined. On the surface that makes it look as if many of those Democrats who are undecided or for Christie at this point are minority voters. And those might be two groups among which the president could help Governor Corzine.

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