Friday, July 31, 2009

State of the Race: New Jersey Governor (7/31/09)

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Let's play some catch up on the 2009 governors races. First, New Jersey. On Tuesday, Public Policy Polling released its first batch of new numbers for the race in the Garden state since late June and not much has changed.

...for Chris Christie.

The Republican held steady around the 50% mark in both the June and July iterations of the poll, but incumbent governor, Jon Corzine, dipped from what had been his high water mark in the June poll (41%) all the way back to 36% in July. And no, PPP doesn't ask a question with independent Chris Daggett included. In other words, this is Corzine's position before Daggett is even considered.

The relevant data:

Chris Christie: 50%
Jon Corzine: 36%
Undecided: 14%

Margin of error: +/- 4.2 points
Sample: 552 registered voters
Conducted: July 24-27, 2009

A few notes:
1) PPP is seemingly the only polling outfit still using a sample of registered, and not likely, voters in this race. I don't think that Corzine would have gained all that much on Christie if likely voters had been sampled, but there could have been some differences. If anything, though, the spread in the poll likely would increased in a likely voter sample given the state of the race.

2) Another thing to eye here is that the sample size from PPP's June poll (1094 registered voters) was cut in half in this poll. Again, this isn't a killer for the poll, but it is a noticeable difference from the June poll that could explain some of the changes witnessed.

3) The 1977 Brendan Byrne comparison may be dead. The position the former Democratic governor was in 1977 was more advantageous than Corzine's now (among registered voters). With less than 100 days left in the race, it is incumbent (no pun intended) upon Corzine to mount some sort of charge. As it is now, he's headed in the wrong direction.

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