A poll of 1,093 likely New Jersey voters finds incumbent Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine leading Republican challenger Chris Christie by 1 percentage point (40 percent to 39 percent) headed into next Tuesday's general election.
Support for independent challenger Chris Daggett sits at 14 percent. Daggett has strong support among independent and unaffiliated voters (23 percent), but is also pulling support from the left (13 percent among Democrats) and the right (8 percent among Republicans).
Both Corzine and Christie's bases are holding strong, with Corzine's support among Democrats at 71 percent, yet low for an incumbent; while Christie's Republican support is slightly higher at 77 percent. The survey showed that likely voters who are independent or unaffiliated are more likely to support Christie (39 percent) than Cozine (26 percent), even in this traditionally blue state.
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"Less than a week from the election, only a third of likely voters (34 percent) say they would like to see Corzine re-elected," said Hughes Center Executive Director Sharon Schulman. "The majority (59 percent) want someone new, including 30 percent of likely Democratic voters and 70 percent of Independents and unaffiliated voters."
"Voters seemed to have firmed up their choices with only 6 percent undecided," continued Schulman. When asked the impact of the lieutenant governor candidates on their vote for governor, 73 percent say it has little or no impact. Allegations of political corruption do have a huge influence on 36 percent of likely voters.
According to pollster John Zogby: "This is a bad political environment for an incumbent nationally, but even worse considering New Jersey's enormous budget problems. That said, for many voters the incumbent Governor may be the lesser of two evils and New Jersey has historically given Democrats the benefit of the doubt. Both Corzine and Christie have been unsparing with their attacks and the surprising rise of Chris Daggett is a testament to how ineffectual both parties have been at appealing to voters. Daggett's performance should serve as a warning to Republicans and Democrats. If Daggett can surge and get nearer to 20 percent of the vote, we may see more 3rd party candidates emerge in 2010."
The Zogby International poll surveyed 1,093 likely voters by phone, from Oct. 27-29. The margin of error for this survey is plus/minus 3 percentage points.
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