Early primary polls aren’t always right

There is a temptation by the media, including this site, to designate former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie as the front runner for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. A Quinnipiac poll released yesterday with a 27-point lead, 44%-17%, over former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan.

A February 2001 Quinnipiac poll had Acting Gov. Donald DiFrancesco leading Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler 45%-16% among Republican primary voters. A Quinnipiac poll taken in May showed former U.S. Rep. Bob Franks with a 46%-24% lead over Schundler. Schundler won the primary by fourteen points, 57%-43%.

In 2000, former Gov. Jim Florio had a 57%-22% lead over first-time candidate Jon Corzine in a February Quinnipiac poll. Corzine won the primary 58%-42%.

Conservative Jeff Bell, a former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, beat four-term U.S. Senator Clifford Case in the 1978 GOP Primary by a 51%-49% margin. But just a month earlier, an Eagleton-Rutgers poll had Case leading Bell 35%-7%.

In May 1977, Gov. Brendan Byrne had a narrow 17%-14% lead over U.S. Rep. Robert Roe, ahead of U.S. Rep. Jim Florio (9%) and seven others in a Rutgers-Eagleton poll. 45% of the Democratic primary voters were undecided.

Early primary polls aren’t always right