Former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie has opened a 23-point lead, 56%-33%, over Lonegan in his bid to be the Republican gubernatorial nominee, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released this morning. Last month, Christie led Lonegan, the former Bogota Mayor, by nine points. A Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey has Christie also released this morning has Christie leading Lonegan by 18 points. Assemblyman Rick Merkt (R-Mendham) is polling at 2% in both polls.
"Chris Christie has solidified his Republican support and is well over the 50 percent needed for victory, while Steve Lonegan has not picked up any significant strength in the past month," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "No one knows who will turn out in a New Jersey Republican primary so anything can happen, but all signs point to a Christie victory. Most of Lonegan's strength comes from conservative GOP voters, with Christie scoring heavily among those who say they are moderate and liberal Republicans."
In a general election matchup, Christie leads Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine by seven points, 45%-38% — the same as it was in an April 22 poll. Lonegan leads Corzine 42%-40%, a statistical dead heat.
Among Republicans, Christie has favorable of 56%-5% and is at 33%-11% among all voters. Lonegan's favorable are 40%-8% among Republicans and 19%-11% among all New Jersey voters.
Two out of three Republican primary voters (67%-10%) say Christie has the experience to be Governor, while just over half (51%-16%) say that Lonegan does.
Asked if Christie and Lonegan were "too liberal, too conservative, or about right," 59% of Republicans said Christie was about right, while 9% said he was too liberal and 5% said he was too conservative. 45% say Lonegan is about right, while 7% say he's too liberal and 11% view him as too conservative.
"Voters are seeing the stark difference between Chris Christie's plan to cut taxes and Steve Lonegan's plan to raise taxes on 70 percent of NJ taxpayers, and 75 percent of seniors," said Bill Stepien, Christie's campaign manager. "New Jerseyans are supporting Chris because they know his conservative plan will cut income taxes across the board and cut business and corporate taxes to create jobs."
“This poll, showing Lonegan leading Corzine by two points, should put to rest any concerns about electability and that has been one reason why Christie's gained a temporary boost in the polls,” said Rick Shaftan, Lonegan’s consultant. “In the last ten days voters will see a contrast between a conservative with a plan to cut taxes, reduce spending and fix our state's economy and a moderate-liberal with no plan to do anything but continue more of the same.”