With Democracy Corps (D) and Research 2000 both releasing polling today on the New Jersey Governor race (the former showing Democrat Jon Corzine leading by 5 points, the latter showing Republican Chris Christie leading by 1), it's worth taking a look at the latest Pollster.com trend estimate:
The spread doesn't look too different if you move from the traditional estimate to the more sensitive one:
While the spreads in these to trend estimates are roughly the same, their trends are slightly different, with the less sensitive metric not picking up the leveling off of support for Christie found in the more sensitive metric. Does this mean that Christie may have finally hit rock bottom, is no longer sinking, and thus still has a shot at victory? I wouldn't rule anything out. That said, both estimates show Corzine continuing to coalesce support, which most certainly does make it more difficult for the Republicans to score a takeover. Still, with it tough to ascertain just how much support the Independent candidate Chris Daggett will actually draw on election day, this race remains very much up in the air (even if I would venture to say that Corzine has an ever-so-slight advantage).
Update [2009-10-29 18:33:14 by Jonathan Singer]:SurveyUSA chimes in with polling of its own, showing a 43-43 tie (previous polling from the company having shown Christie leading). Key point from the survey -- Corzine leads by 8 points among those who have already voted. Considering that early voting was key to Barack Obama's success in 2008 (Josh, as well as I, can likely remember having difficulty finding Democrats who hadn't yet voted in Nevada on election day last year), this early indication that Corzine may be banking votes can't augur well for Republican hopes.
Coming on the heels of surveys from Public Policy Polling (D) and Rasmussen Reports (weirdly a one-day poll; why any pollster would release one day numbers at this stage in the race is a little quizzical) showing Republican Chris Christie leading in the New Jersey Governor race by 4 points and 3 points, respectively, Quinnipiac, perhaps the most respected pollster in the state has released its own numbers:
New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine leads Republican challenger Christopher Christie for the first time in their five-month slugfest, on top 43 - 38 percent among likely voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Independent candidate Christopher Daggett has 13 percent, with 5 percent undecided.
This compares to a 41 - 40 percent Christie lead, with 14 percent for Daggett, in an October 14 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University.
At present, the Pollster.com trend estimates -- both the traditional measure and the more sensitive one -- show Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine leading by close to 2 points with all the data points crunched.
Perhaps the worst news out of this Q poll for Christie is the finding that Corzine is now earning as much support from Democrats as Christie is among Republicans -- a killer statistic in a state as blue as New Jersey. While Christie was able to hold onto a lead for much of this race as a significant chunk of Democrats refused to support the incumbent, with 8-in-10 Democrats now on the Corzine bandwagon, the math becomes significantly more difficult for the Christie campaign. That said, support for Independent Chris Daggett is not necessarily completely solid, and insofar as his backers might opt to vote for Christie instead, Corzine's lead is not entirely locked in.
In June, I telephoned an old New Jersey friend - a Republican lawyer from Totowa who has been active in Passaic county politics for decades and whose views I respect - to ask his views about the governor's race between incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine and Republican challenger Chris Christie.
At the time, Christie was ahead by over 10 points in the New Jersey polls. I asked my friend of 33 years, "What do you think will happen in the governor's race in November?" He answered without hesitation, "Corzine should win because the Republican base has been shrinking in this state, and the party has not done much to broaden the base. In many places in New Jersey, the Republican Party does not exist. The Republican label has become toxic in this state."
Well, it looks like right wing Republican Chris Christie will win the governors race in New Jersey, giving Republicans a full sweep of the 2009 governors races and putting the Democratic majority in governorships at a tiny 26-24.
While our fundamental analysis of the [New Jersey Governor] race has not changed, the combination of recent polling - including Daggett's strength - and Corzine's success in changing the dynamic of the race suggests that the Governor now has a reasonable chance of winning the three-way contest with well under 50% of the vote. Move from Lean Takeover (Republican) to Toss-Up.
I don't mean to single out the folks at Rothenberg, but this is quite remarkable. By about two weeks ago, Republican Chris Christie had lost what not all that long ago was a 9-point lead, hemorrhaging close to 10 percent support in his race against Jon Corzine. Nearly a week ago Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine retook the lead in the race after having trailed for a year. Yet it takes until now for Rothenberg to move the New Jersey Governor race from leans Republican to tossup?
At a time when the election prognosticators are jumping over one another to project larger and larger Republican gains, throwing to the wind the type of excessive caution they have embraced in previous cycles (do not forget the borderline derisive skepticism some showed towards the potential of a Democratic takeover of the House in 2006), some seem to fail to grasp that the ground has been shifting quite noticeably in New Jersey? To put it another way, if it takes this long to figure out that the New Jersey Governor's race is a tossup (if not one with a slight Democratic advantage), how long will it take to account for the Democrats far outraising the Republicans and a growing Democratic generic congressional ballot lead?