Neck and Neck?

A new Democracy Corps poll (D) has Chris Christie a mere two points ahead of Jon Corzine — Christie 43%, Corzine 41%.

What’s interesting here is that we’ve now got three polls over the last couple weeks showing this race either close or essentially tied. But each is a poll with some partisan affiliation. Today’s and one taken on August 11th and 12th is by Democracy Corps, which is Stan Greenberg’s and James Carville’s group. It’s a highly respected poll. But still there’s a partisan identification.

There was also a GOP poll put on Monday which showed a three-point Christie lead. In that case it’s a Republican poll, the consultant behind it doesn’t have a clear track record in terms of poll reliability. Sort of an unknown quantity. And he also worked for Christie’s primary opponent.Now, here’s where it gets more interesting. Most polls had been showing about a ten point race in favor of Christie, a steep deficit for an incumbent to overcome (though New Jersey Dems have a reputation of doing it). Democracy Corps’s August 13th poll had a five-point advantage for Christie. Still pretty close. But just a couple of days before, Quinnipiac had Christie up by 9 points.

But here’s where the calendar comes in. The last couple weeks have been awful for Christie, starting with the revelations of Karl Rove’s congressional testimony which put Christie back at the center of the US Attorney firings scandal. That news came out August 11th, the first of two nights Democracy Corps did their August 13th poll, and after Quinnipiac poll did its last poll.

It’s hard to believe that news had permeated too much into the NJ electorate’s consciousness that quickly. But it was out there. So for those who want to see these numbers as favorable for Corzine, there’s some argument believing that the different here is that all three of these polls were post-Christie scandal firestorm.

Finally, there’s Rasmussen. People have a lot strong views about Rasmussen’s polls. My take is that it’s an important one to watch. But it does have a heavy Republican lean. Today’s poll gives Christie an 11 point margin. But it does show movement in Corzine’s direction.

Rasmussen also adds this …

Corzine, who left the U.S. Senate to run for governor, draws even closer when leaners are included. With the leaners, 50% will vote for Christie and 42% for Corzine. That eight-point edge for Christie is down from 13 points in early August and 12 points in early July. Leaners are those who initially indicate no preference for either of the candidates but answer a follow-up question and say they are leaning towards a particular candidate.

The trend of those leaners is particularly interesting. In July, the leaners were moving in Christie’s direction and worked to expand his lead. In early August, the leaners were evenly divided and had no impact on the gap between the candidates. Now, the leaners are moving in Corzine’s direction and are reducing Christie’s lead.

It all makes me very eager to see the next independent poll of this race.