A new Quinnipiac University poll has Gov. Jon Corzine with a five point lead, 43%-38%, over Republican Christopher Christie – Corzine's first lead in nearly a year – with independent Christopher Daggett at 13%.
Two weeks ago, Quinnipiac put Christie ahead, 41%-40%, with 14% for Daggett.
"You could see it coming. Gov. Jon Corzine's numbers crept steadily up and Christopher Christie's steadily shrank and now, for the first time, we have Corzine ahead," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "But don't be in a hurry to mark this election as over. Christopher Daggett changed it from ‘ABC' – Anybody But Corzine – to a real three-way scrap. But a lot of Daggett's voters say they might change their minds by Election Day. Where will they go?"
Corzine continues to have upside-down job approvals: 39%-54%; the governor has an upside-down 29%-68% approval rating among independents.
Christie has increased his lead among independents and is now ahead 45%-30%, six points better than two weeks ago, with Daggett getting 20% of independents. But Corzine has gained three points among Democrats and Christie has dropped four points among Republicans.
Nearly four out of ten Daggett voters (38%) say they may change their mind, with 43% saying Christie is their second choice and 27% indicating a preference for Corzine.
"Can Daggett win? More than two-thirds of New Jerseyans don't think so," Carroll added.
Corzine has turned the corner on the honest and trustworthy issue, with more voters (46%) saying he is than he isn't. Voters are also split on Christie, who is upside-down, with 37% saying he's honest and trustworthy and 39% saying he isn't. This is the first time this year that Corzine's score has been positive, and this is Christie's worst score yet.
Six out of ten voters (60%) say property taxes will go up during a second Corzine term, while 2% say they will go down and 34% believing they will remain the same. 37% of voters think property taxes will go up under Christie, 12% think they will go down, and 44% say they will stay the same.
Of the 90 percent of New Jersey voters who have seen Corzine's TV ads:
- 14% say the ads make them more likely to vote for the Governor;
- 31% say less likely;
- 54% say the ads won't affect their vote;
- 66% find the ads annoying;
- 29% say the ads are informative.
Of the 86 percent of New Jersey voters who have seen Christie's TV ads:
- 17% say the ads make them more likely to vote for the challenger;
- 28% say less likely;
- 53% say the ads won't affect their vote;
- 58% find the ads annoying;
- 35% say the ads are informative.
"The drumbeat of denunciation has dropped Christie down to Corzine's negative level in the favorable-unfavorable match. And it's produced a reversal on ‘honest and trustworthy.' Corzine comes out plus; Christie tips to a minus," Carroll said. "Everyone says negative advertising is bad, but everybody watches it. Virtually every New Jersey voter has seen the Corzine and Christie ads and most think that they're more annoying than informative."
Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,267 New Jersey likely voters between October 20-26, with a margin of error of +/- 2.8%.