Headed into the last week of the campaign for governor, Democrat Jon Corzine maintains his eight point lead over Republican Doug Forrester. According to the first release of data from Fairleigh Dickinson University's tracking poll, Corzine leads the race by seven points 44%-37% without “leaners” and leads by eight points 47%-39% with “leaners” included. That margin is virtually unchanged from PublicMind results of Oct. 11th when Corzine led by 8 points 48%-40%, and similar to September numbers when Corzine led by 9 points at 47%-38%.
“If Forrester has any more cards to show, now is the time to show them,” said Peter Woolley, director of the poll.
The Democratic nominee maintains his lead despite record numbers who say the state is on the wrong track. Just 23% of likely voters--a new low--say the state is headed in the right direction while 64%--a new high--say the state is on the wrong track. Even a majority of Democrats (53%) say the say state is on the wrong track. A majority of coveted undecided voters (56%) also say the state is on the wrong track. Coincidentally, the percentage of voters who identify both candidates as “negative” campaigners has doubled since mid-October and quadrupled since late September.
“Forrester has been cast in the role of the challenger and doesn't have to convince anyone the state is on the wrong track,” said Woolley. “But he has yet to convince voters that he's the solution and Corzine is not.”
Despite leading 34%-23% in early October on the question of who is better able to do something about high property taxes, Forrester has fallen into a dead heat with Corzine on that issue. Moreover, only one of two Republicans says Forrester is the more likely of the two to combat high property taxes. Meanwhile, Corzine continues to run far ahead (45%-25%) on the question of who has the background and experience to be a good governor. And Forrester has made no headway yet on the question of who is more independent of party bosses and large campaign contributors: a quarter of voters (24%) say Forrester is more independent, another quarter (25%) say Corzine, and the remainder say neither or both or they're not sure.
Just 18% of likely voters predict Forrester will win the race, while 63% predict Corzine will win. Even one of every two Republicans says that Corzine is going to win.
The Republican nominee continues to run slightly ahead of Corzine among the state's white voters, but the Democrat runs far ahead among non-white voters, leading by a 7:2 ratio.
The PublicMind poll of 442 likely voters statewide was conducted by telephone from October 20 through October 26 and has a margin of error of +/-5 percentage points. PublicMind continues to conduct interviews through the final week of campaigning and will frequently update its numbers from its tracking poll.
Peter Woolley 973.670.3239
Krista Jenkins 973.443.8390
Radio actuality line: (201) 692-2846.
For more information, please call (201) 692-7032.