Runaway Governor’s Race Confounds Pollsters And Pundits

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State Sen. Barbara Buono and Gov. Chris Christie

State Sen. Barbara Buono and Gov. Chris Christie

by Mark J. Magyar / NJ Spotlight

Four years ago, the last five polls in the governor’s race varied by just five percentage points — with GOP challenger Chris Christie leading by no more than 3 percent and Gov. Jon Corzine by no more than 2 percent. Even with the complication of independent Chris Daggett in the race, the polls were basically right on the money: Christie ended up winning by 4.5 percent, within the margin of error for three of the polls.

Tonight, somebody’s poll is going to be very wrong — and that’s in a race in which the pollsters have no argument over the winner.

The Monmouth University poll has Christie leading Sen. Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) by 20 percent; the Quinnipiac poll has Christie winning by 28 percent; and the Rutgers-Eagleton poll shows a whopping 36 percent Christie landslide. For a polling profession that usually quotes margins of error of plus or minus 1.5 to 3.5 percent, those Monmouth and Rutgers-Eagleton polls are an Evel Knievel chasm apart.

For Christie, that 16-point spread is the difference between a Monmouth margin worth bragging about on the Sunday morning talk shows and a Rutgers-Eagleton margin worth plastering on billboards in Iowa and New Hampshire tomorrow morning.

Read the full story at NJ Spotlight

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