STATE — Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s lead over Democratic challenger state Sen. Barbara Buono shrunk ten points in the latest Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll, though the incumbent still enjoys a 20 point advantage.
Likely voters favor Christie over Buono by a 56 percent-36 percent margin, according to the poll released today. In June, Christie led 61 percent to 31 percent.
Buono’s gains come from Democrats backing their own party’s nominee – she leads Christie by a 71 percent to 21 percent margin, up from 59 percent to 36 percent in June. Christie still enjoys the support of 90 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of independent voters, according to the poll.
“The trend suggests that New Jersey Democrats are coming back home. But it’s not quite enough for Buono to overcome Christie’s sizable advantage among independents,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Buono is still struggling for name recognition. Only half of the likely voters are familiar enough to offer an opinion, which is split 27 percent favorable and 25 percent unfavorable.
Republicans hoping to use the specter of former Gov. Jon Corzine to gain seats in the state Legislature from what they call “Corzine Democrats” may not have hit upon the right tactic. Just 14 percent of likely voters say Corzine will be a major factor when they cast their ballots, and 70 percent say the former governor’s reputation will not influence them at all.
The Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll was conducted by telephone from Aug. 15 to 18, with 777 New Jersey voters likely to vote in the November general election. This sample has a margin of error of + 3.5 percent. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute and originally published by the Asbury Park Press and its sister publications (Courier-Post, Courier News, Daily Journal, Daily Record, and Home News Tribune).
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