As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Monday, August 24, 2009

NJ-Gov: Confirmation Of Christie's Nosedive

The first poll since Chris Christie has faced hit after hit in the New Jersey Governor's race shows essentially a dead heat, after several polls showed double-digit leads for the challenger.

A new poll of New Jersey from conservative strategist Rick Shaftan finds that the New Jersey gubernatorial race, where Republican former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie has held a strong lead over Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine in most surveys, could now actually be a dead heat.

While most polls have shown Christie with roughly a ten point lead, the new poll shows he takes 39% support to Corzine's 36%, plus independent candidate Chris Daggett at 6%, with a margin of error of ±5.49%. A key finding is that both major candidates have negative net favorable ratings -- Corzine is at 23% favorable to 46% unfavorable, but Christie is also at only 20% favorable to 27% unfavorable.

"Yeah, I was really surprised at it myself," Shaftan, who most recently worked for Christie's primary opponent, told TPM. "The Corzine people have managed to convince people that Christie is dirty."

A 23/46 favorable split is hard for an incumbent to surmount, but the pollster makes the key point - Corzine's campaign brought Christie down into the mud, with an assist from Christie himself. Christie's entire campaign has been predicated on this idea that he's a law-and-order conservative with impeccable ethical credentials. It's not true, and now all of New Jersey knows it. So his image is tarnished, and now he has to hope the teabag coalition can be big enough for victory. I'm not betting on that.

And it'll just get worse. For example, check out this account of a Christie press conference that turned into the candidate having to continually defend himself over charges that he gave a loan to his employee in the US Attorney's office, Michelle Brown, which he never disclosed. Once the image you try to create as a candidate is punctured, you can go nowhere but down.

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