New poll has Christie leading 40%-33%

Republican Christopher Christie has a seven point lead over Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine among definite voters, 40%-33%, according to a new poll conducted by Neighborhood Research, a Republican firm headed by conservative Rick Shaftan.

Independent Christopher Daggett is at 7%.

Christie had a 44%-35% lead over Corzine in a poll released on Tuesday by a Democratic firm, Public Policy Polling.

The Shaftan poll has Corzine’s favorables upset down at 21%-50% among definite voters, while Christie is at 31%-25% and Daggett at 8%-1%.

“Time is running out for the incumbent. Christie’s boost in favorables is not related to any advertising on either side, but support based on Christie being Corzine’s only major opponent. His #1 favorable now is ‘change’ or ‘not Corzine’ rather than his record as U.S. Attorney,” Shaftan said. “This indicates that voters are already starting to tune out Corzine and the incumbent is rapidly getting to a point where his advertising will have a very limited effect on public opinion.”

The Christie message of “how can I do any worse” is starting to resonate with voters, Shaftan says.

“Despite the closeness of this race in the current ballot test, given Corzine’s status as an incumbent, his high negatives and low favorables, undecided voters will shift heavily to Christie in the final days unless Corzine is able to change these numbers quickly,” Shaftan said.

Shaftan said Corzine’s “ace in the hole” is his ground operation and he holds a significant lead over Christie among those less likely to vote — the natural targets of this operation. He says Christie needs to “re-open a substantial lead with voters, and that appears very possible here.”

“Democratic GOTV efforts will fail if it appears that Christie will win anyway,” said Shaftan. “Workers don’t want to go to the wall for a candidate who’s going to lose anyway.”

Shaftan says the only good news for Corzine is that his liberal base coming home.

“But even here, he is losing 13% of those voters to Daggett. While Christie is not running any better with conservatives, these voters now represent 35% of the likely electorate versus 32% a month ago,” Shaftan said.

Click here to view the poll.

Neighborhood Research surveyed 347 registered voters who said their chances of voting in the November election were “definite” or “very likely” between September 14-17. The margin of error is +/- 5.3%. Thirteen of the surveys were completed in Spanish.

New poll has Christie leading 40%-33%