PPP's newest look at the New Jersey contest for Governor finds Chris Christie leading Jon Corzine 50-36. That 14 point margin is up from 10 in our June survey.
Christie continues to hold a commanding lead with independents, 54-26, and is receiving 86% of the Republican vote while holding Corzine to just 64% of the Democrats.
Negative advertising against Christie does not seem to be having any effect on voter perceptions of him. 42% have a favorable opinion of him with 32% holding an unfavorable one, numbers virtually unchanged from a 43/33 spread a month ago. Corzine's numbers are pretty much the same as well with 56% of the electorate viewing him negatively and 33% positively after those numbers were 56 and 36 in June.
If there's a silver lining for Corzine it's that 14% of voters are undecided and beyond that 25% of folks currently preferring either Christie or Corzine say that they're open to changing their minds. That leaves Christie with a 37-27 lead among voters who say their minds are completely made up and 36% at least somewhat persuadable. 47% of the folks who fall into that group are Democrats while just 26% are Republicans so if Corzine can convince his base voters to come home the race will likely tighten up over the last three months.
Corzine's biggest problem right now might be lacking support from minority voters. He's up only 64-20 with black voters, well below the usual 80% on up that Democratic candidates win in that demographics, and he's actually trailing 50-33 among Hispanics. Christie's public statement of support for the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor may be doing him some good.
Corzine's weakness with those groups may lead some to think we got a conservative leaning sample of blacks and Hispanics, but Barack Obama's approval rating is 92% with the blacks we polled and among the Hispanics it was 67%. He has some work to do with those groups to get reelected this fall.
Given his remarkable unpopularity with independents, Corzine's going to need to move that 64% of the Democratic vote he's getting right now closer to the 90% range if he's going to get reelected. For now Chris Christie has to like where he's standing.
Full results here