A poll released today puts Republican Chris Christie ahead of incumbent Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine by 13 points.
In the automated Rasmussen Reports poll, which was conducted yesterday, Christie leads Corzine 51% to 38% — a four point increase over Rasmussen’s last poll on the governor’s race. Corzine has remained at 38%. Getting over 50% in a poll is good news for any candidate, although the pollster said that it may be a temporary bounce.
“The slight increase in support for Christie may reflect a temporary bounce from his primary victory,” wrote the pollster in the poll’s summary.
The pollster noted that statewide, Republicans often have strong showings early on in the race. Although 51% of respondents said they supported Christie, only 43% said they expected him to win in November, while 41% expected Corzine to be reelected.
Christie also has a favorability rating of 53% to Corzine’s 41%. But the biggest liability for Corzine is that 37% of respondents have a “very unfavorable” view of him.
The one bright spot for Corzine is that his approval rating is up a bit, at 42% — nine points higher than three months ago.
“I’m pleased voters are responding to Chris’s positive message of change. With these numbers, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before Governor Corzine and his political caddies restart the same negative mistruths against Chris they were running on television the last weeks of the primary election. It didn’t work in the primary, and it won’t work in the general election either,” said Christie Campaign Manager Bill Stepien. “Voters know Jon Corzine’s record – record unemployment, the highest tax burden in the country and an out of control budget – and no amount of advertising will fool voters into forgetting the pain they feel everyday.
Corzine spokesman Sean Darcy countered that voters will change their minds once they see the contrast between Christie and Corzine more clearly.
“The Governor has been focused on ensuring New Jersey is in the best position to take advantage when the economy rebounds,” he said. “I think both he and Vice President Biden made it extremely clear at the Campaign Kickoff Tuesday night that New Jersey voters will have a very clear choice between very different values and very different visions for the future in November.”
Brigid Harrison, a political science professor at Montclair State University, agreed with the pollster’s assessment that part of the lead is due to a post-primary bounce. But she said Christie is indeed in a strong position, having cracked the 50% mark and with a lead well outside the margin of error.
“Both Jon Corzine’s stagnant percentage and Christie’s increas reflect the dynamics of Tuesday’s primary, particularly given the widespread media coverage Christie was given in the days leading up to his contested primary,” she said. “And so his increase reflects a post-primary media bounce.”
Rasmussen surveyed 500 “likely voters.” The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 4.5%.