Chris Christie now leads Jon Corzine 42-38 in the race to be New Jersey's next Governor, a slight increase from our poll two weeks that showed his advantage at 40-39.
Chris Daggett's candidacy appears to be having a major impact on this race. His support is steady at 13% from two weeks ago but whereas before he appeared to be drawing voters away from Christie he now seems to be hurting Corzine. 44% of Daggett voters say that the incumbent is their second choice to 32% for Christie. The previous poll showed those second choice votes going to Christie by a 48-34 margin. 43% of Daggett voters are Democrats to just 9% who are Republicans. They report having supported Barack Obama by a 62-31 margin last fall and that they went 62-18 for Corzine against Doug Forrester.
It's clear that Christie's negative ads against Daggett have been effective and money well spent. Where his favorability rating broke down 30/24 positively two weeks ago, it's now 31/36 in a negative direction. His drop has been particularly strong with Republicans. 47% now see him unfavorably where before it was 31%.
There are several indications within the numbers that Christie is in a better position than Corzine one week out from the election. 95% of his supporters say they will definitely vote for him, compared to 79% of Corzine's. Daggett's support continues to be pretty malleable, with only 57% of his voters saying they are strongly committed to him. 42% of Christie's voters are very excited about voting this fall to 29% of Corzine's who express that sentiment. The comparative excitement levels could have implications for which candidate is better able to get his supporters out.
It's not enthusiasm about Christie that's drawing his voters out, but intense dislike of Corzine. 71% of Corzine's supporters say they're voting more for him than against his opponents. But among Christie voters just 49% say their motivation is to support him while 47% say they're turning out to vote against someone.
Indeed it's pretty clear voters in the state don't have much love for any of the candidates. 45% of respondents, including 33% of Democrats, think that the party should have nominated someone other than Corzine. Only 37% disagree. That feeling is even stronger about Christie though- 48% of respondents, including 37% of Republicans, think that party should have nominated someone else. Just 32% disagree.
A couple notes on Daggett's support: in addition to the fact that 43% of his supporters say they might vote for someone else 59% of them say they are 'not very excited' about voting this fall compared to 28% of Christie's and 30% of Corzine's. Additionally just 46% of those who say they're voting for him think it's possible to win. None of those indicators bode particularly well for him maintaining his current level of support- folks may decide to vote for someone they do think can win or even more likely, stay at home.
All that said this continues to be a very close race and it could certainly go either way in the final days.
Full results here