New York Times poll shows dead heat: Corzine 40%, Christie 39%, Daggett 14%

Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine leads Republican Christopher Christie 40%-39% with independent Christopher Daggett at 14% among likely voters, according to a New York Times poll released today. Without leaners, Corzine is ahead 40%-37%, with Daggett still at 14%.

Corzine's lead over Christie is within the poll's margin of error,

The paper led not with the horse race numbers, however, but with data showing that the public is skeptical about both major party candidates.

Wrote reporter David Halbfinger: "the decision facing New Jersey voters is startlingly bleak."

Voters "do not like Mr. Corzine, think he has done a poor job and have little faith that he will revive the state's ailing economy or gain control of soaring property taxes, the two issues they say they care about the most… But the electorate is just as skeptical of Mr. Christie, who has been hit with a blizzard of Mr. Corzine's attack ads but has failed to get across a positive message."

Despite Corzine's lead among registered voters, his favorability ratings are more upside-down than in most other independent polls. Only 30% of voters have a favorable opinion of him, compared to 46% who view him unfavorably. Christie is also upside down, though 41% of respondents had no opinion of him. He is viewed favorably by 19% and unfavorably by 37%. Eight in 10 voters have no opinion of Daggett.

Among all registered voters, Corzine's lead is more dramatic and beyond the margin of error, at 40% to Christie's 30% and Daggett's 13%.

Editor's Note: When reports poll numbers, we lead with likely voters in a three-way race, including leaners. New York Times poll shows dead heat: Corzine 40%, Christie 39%, Daggett 14%