Former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie leads Gov. Jon Corzine by nine percentage points, 41%-32%, in a Fairleigh Dickinson University Public Mind poll released this morning.
In a matchup among Republican primary voters, Christie leads former Bogota Mayor Steven Lonegan 43%-15%. Two other candidates, Franklin Mayor Brian Levine and Assemblyman Rick Merkt (R-Mendham) barely register, at 2% and 1%, respectively.
Corzine’s approval rating is upside-down at 40%-46%. And the governor has taken a major hit in popularity with public employee households, with only 31% of their members approving of his job performance, while 56% disapprove.
“When budgets are cut, public employees laid off, and taxes are in danger of being raised, lots of people think twice about their support for the incumbent,” said pollster Peter Woolley.Christie’s name recognition, which the same poll measured at 44% in January, is now 57%. Lonegan’s statewide name ID is at 33%.
Corzine does come out on top in head-to-head match ups with the other Republican gubernatorial candidates, but not by huge margins, leading Lonegan by four points, 36% to 32%. He leads Merkt 38% to 28% and Levine 38% to 27%.
Among Democrats, Corzine leads former Glen Ridge Mayor Carl Bergmanson by a 54%-2% margin, with 36% undecided. Jeff Boss, who ran as an Independent for President and U.S. Senate in 2008, is at 1%, as is Perth Amboy Councilman Kenneth Balut, who has said he will not enter the race.
FDU also tested two other well-known Democrats in a primary against the governor. Corzine leads Senate President Richard Codey (D-Roseland) by nineteen points, 51%-32%, and has a 54%-23% lead over Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Neither Democrat is mulling a challenge to the incumbent.