One interesting thing I noticed about the New Jersey polls this week was that all of the ones that released crosstabs by race showed Jon Corzine under performing standard Democratic performance with African Americans. Democracy Corps had him at 71%, we had him at 70%, and Survey USA found him at 66%.
For sake of comparison exit polls showed Robert Menendez winning 82% of the black vote in 2006 and Frank Lautenberg getting 87% of it last year.
It's certainly possible that the black voters coming out in New Jersey this year are more conservative leaning than black voters in general, or that the three way nature of the race is driving down Corzine's numbers. But it's also not at all unusual for Democratic candidates to under poll among black voters further out from election day before they 'come home' at the end.
We polled five Senate/Governor elections in North Carolina, Indiana, Virginia, and Missouri in mid-October last year. On average the Democratic candidate was winning 75% of the black vote in those polls. Looking at the exit polls for those same contests, the Democrat ended up winning 90% of the black vote. So there was a 15 point discrepancy between where they were in mid-October and where they ended up on election day.
If Corzine's actual black support ends up being 15 points better than is showing in the polls today and white voters stay constant he gets reelected by a couple points. We'll see if that happens.