Former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie leads former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan by nine points, 46%-37%, in the race for the Republican nomnation for Governor, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released this morning. Christie had led Lonegan 40%-19% in a poll taken by Quinnipiac last month.
“Christopher Christie’s lead over Steve Lonegan in the Republican primary shrinks as we shift from registered voters to likely voters. These Republican loyalists are less impressed by a political newcomer than a party veteran,” Richards said.
In a general election matchup Christie leads Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine by seven points, 45%-38%, and is tied with Steve Lonegan, 41%-41%.
Corzine an upside-down job approval rating of 37%-54% — the worst of his nine-year political career. He was at 40%-50% in March.
New Jersey voters, by a margin of 58%-32%, disapprove of the way Corzine is handling the economy. That is worse than the 56%-31% disapproval on econominc issues in Quinnipiac's March 11 poll. More than half of the state's voters, 53%, say Corzine does not deserve to be re-elected. 34% say he does.
“The economy is killing Gov. Jon Corzine’s approval rating in New Jersey so much that he is vulnerable not only to a strong challenger such as Chris Christie but a lesser known Republican such as Mayor Steve Lonegan,” said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “By any measure, Corzine is losing the support of key independent voters. More importantly, he is not generating the level of love from fellow Democrats he needs to offset his big negatives among Republicans and independents."
Richards says it will be tough for Corzine to win re-election when six out of ten New Jerseyans disapprove of his handling of the economy.
“But Corzine has a great potential equalizer in this campaign – the millions he will spend to get his message across," said Richards.
In the Republican primary, Assemblyman Rick Merkt (R-Mendham) is at 2% and inventor David Brown is at 1%. Franklin Mayor Brian D. Levine was included in the poll but received less than 1% of the vote. Brown and Levine are mounting legal challengers to stay on the June GOP primary ballot.
Corzine leads the race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination with 70% against his three primary challengers. Phillipsburg businessman and '08 congressional candidate Roger Bacon is at 3% and former Glen Ridge Mayor Carl Bergmanson is at 2%, as is Jeff Boss, who ran for President and U.S. Senate in 2008 suggesting that he witnessed the government planning the 9/11 terrorist attack,