Monmouth University/Gannett: Christie lead widens

The latest polling conducted by Monmouth University and Gannett New Jersey has Republican Chris Christie widening his lead over incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine in the race for Drumthwacket.

Mr. Christie now holds a 14-point advantage – 50 percent to 36 percent – with 4 percent for independent Chris Daggett, among likely voters. That marks an increase from last month, when Mr. Christie held an 8-point lead – 45 percent to 37 percent – among voters contacted in the poll.

Among registered voters, who may or may not vote on Nov. 3, the gap narrows to 4 points – 43 percent for Mr. Christie to 39 percent for Gov. Corzine – which Monmouth University statistician Patrick Murray categorized as “statistically similar to the 6-point gap among registered voters in the July poll.”

“As an election heats up most polls focus only on likely voters with the aim of predicting the eventual outcome. However, we are still in the early days of this race and the role of a public poll should be to increase our understanding of electoral dynamics, including which registered voters may or may not show up on election day,” said Mr. Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

“In this case, we find that Corzine has made some gains with black and Hispanic voters, while Christie has increased his vote share among union workers. But the bottom line is that Christie’s supporters are more engaged, which is why the Republican’s lead among likely voters has grown.”

The poll, conducted after the July campaign stop by President Barack Obama in Monmouth County and the arrests of dozens of public officials and political operatives, mostly Democrats, is a tale of two still unsettled electorates, according to Mr. Murray.

Mr. Murray said the Obama visit helped Gov. Corzine increase support within blocs of registered voters, but the poll found that the visit did not make those voters more likely to show up at the polls on election day.

The Monmouth announcement noted that Gov. Corzine now claims the support of 65 percent of black and Hispanic voters, which is up from 50 percent last month. However, only 58 percent of all Gov. Corzine supporters who are registered to vote are likely to hit the polls.

Moving to changes in traditional Democratic voting blocs, Mr. Christie now holds a 48 percent to 30 percent lead among voters in union households and a 47 percent to 37 percent lead among teachers. He also draws nearly even with the governor for state government worker support – 43 percent for Gov. Corzine to 40 percent for Mr. Christie.

These findings mark significant gains for a Republican, among groups that are politically aware and tend to vote for Democrats. For Mr. Christie, it is expected that fully 78 percent of his supporters who are registered to vote are deemed likely to turnout to vote, up from 64 percent reported in last month’s poll.

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