NJ-GOV: Despite Attacks, Christie Maintains Lead over Corzine

Two new polls in the New Jersey governor’s race show Republican challenger Christopher Christie maintaining his lead over incumbent Governor Jon Corzine (D). The Quinnipiac poll shows Christie holding a ten point lead over Corzine, 47-37 percent; while the Fairleigh Dickinson-PublicMind shows a closer race, 47-42 percent in Christie’s favor.

Both margins are essentially unchanged from previous surveys by the respective polls, but there have been minor shifts in the numbers. In the July Quinnipiac poll, Christie garnered 53 percent of respondents, six points better than his showing in today’s poll. Similarly, Corzine found his support shrinking by four points from the last Quinnipiac survey. In the Fairleigh Dickinson poll, both candidates increased their share of respondents over June’s result.

Christie’s negatives have been driven up by Corzine’s slashing attacks against Christie’s ethics and smears of his service as U.S. Attorney for Newark. For most of the past month, Christie has been beset by attacks on everything from phone calls with the White House, to his personal finances, to a four-year old traffic ticket.  But while Corzine’s relentless attacks have raised doubts about Christie, they have not managed to convince many more voters that Corzine deserves a second term.

Fairleigh Dickinson reports in its poll that Christie enjoys the support of nearly one-in-five Democratic likely voters. Corzine’s attacks have been aimed at luring those wayward Democrats back to the fold. In that regard, the attacks have been a spectacular failure.

The Christie campaign released a statement on news of the polls.  Campaign manager Bill Stepien was truimphant.

“Governor Corzine has gotten used to throwing his Wall Street millions behind baseless and slanderous attack ads.  This year with the highest property taxes in the country, 9.3% unemployment and 200,000 lost jobs last year alone, the people of New Jersey are saying enough is enough.  Chris is leading this race because he offers solutions to struggling New Jerseyans while Jon Corzine has tried to mask his miserable record with even more of his angry, partisan rhetoric.

The stakes are too high when hard working families can barely make ends meet and Jon Corzine’s campaign has belittled and insulted the challenges so many in our state are facing.  Today’s polls make clear that voters want change and they’re going to start by changing governors.”

By listing property taxes first in its indictment of Corzine, and leaving any mention of corruption out of its official reaction, the Christie campaign is showing that the real campaign is beginning, and Christie intends to press his advantage over Corzine in the very area it will hurt Corzine the most, his own record.