FDU: Christie leads Corzine by 6

Republican Chris Christie leads incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine in the race for governor by six points, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll released this morning.

Christie leads Corzine 45% to 39% — a slight decrease in Christie’s margin since of the last FDU survey in April, which put him ahead by 9%.

“Even though it’s early in the campaign, it is remarkable that a Republican is running ahead in New Jersey,” said FDU political science professor and poll director Peter Woolley.

Corzine’s favorability rating and approval rating are both upside down — 31% favorable to 54% unfavorable, and 36% approval to 49% disapproval. But his numbers are particularly problematic among Democrats, 48% of whom see him favorably and 37% of whom have an unfavorable impression of him. Sixty-six percent of Democratic voters say they’ll support Corzine, while 20% prefer Christie and 13% are undecided.

“The governor’s key weakness right now is among Democrats,” said Woolley.

Voters are not confident about the direction the state is heading in. Only 21% say it’s the right direction, while 66% think New Jersey is on the wrong track.

Meanwhile, Corzine’s advertising against Christie appears to be taking a toll on the Republican’s favorability rating, which remains in positive territory but has decreased since FDU last asked the question in April. Thirty-four percent of voters have a favorable view of Christe. Twenty-five percent see him unfavorably – up from 12% in April. Back then, 38% of respondents had not heard of him. Now, just 13% remain clueless as to who he is.

Republicans’ attacks on the budget Corzine signed yesterday may not prove too volatile, according to the survey. Fifty-five percent said it was a good idea to eliminate the property-tax write off for state income tax, versus 37% who said it was a bad idea. Sixty-six percent favor increased taxes on wine and liquor, while a smaller majority – 56% — think it’s a good idea to limit property tax rebates to seniors and families making under $75,000 a year.

“The state budget may be squared away for the governor,” said Woolley. “But clearly the election is not.”

Other numbers of note:

-Eighty-nine percent of respondents had not heard of independent candidate Christopher Daggett, a former DEP commissioner and Regional EPA Administrator.

-President Barack Obama remains popular in New Jersey, with a 61% approval rating. But 27% of Obama voters prefer Christie.

-Christie is seen as more “honest and trustworthy” than Corzine (33% to 24%), and as better understanding the concerns of average people (40% to 28%). But more people think Corzine has “the background and experience to be a good governor (42% to 29%).

-Although voters at the moment prefer Christie, more think Corzine will win than Christie (46% to 38%).

Fairleigh Dickinson surveyed 803 registered voters between June 22 and June 29. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5%. FDU: Christie leads Corzine by 6