Monday, October 26, 2009

New Jersey Governor Moved to Toss-Up

Recent polls confirm the closeness of the New Jersey gubernatorial race, reflecting the inability of Republican challenger Chris Christie to keep the contest as a referendum on unpopular Gov. Jon Corzine (D). Instead, Democrats have made the contest recently about Christie.

Independent Chris Daggett continues to show well in the polls, sometimes reaching the upper teens in ballot tests. As we noted earlier, the stronger Daggett’s showing, the better chance that Corzine can eke out a narrow victory with between 40% and 45% of the vote.

While Corzine’s image has not improved, his attacks on Christie have successfully raised questions about the challenger’s integrity. And the Governor continues to try to make the contest into a partisan race by bringing big-name Democrats into the Garden State.

But Corzine’s continued weakness (both in terms of poor job ratings and high personal “unfavorable” rating) still gives Christie a potential path to victory in the contest’s final days..

While our fundamental analysis of the race has not changed, the combination of recent polling – including Daggett’s strength – and Corzine’s success in changing the dynamic of the race suggests that the Governor now has a reasonable chance of winning the three-way contest with well under 50% of the vote. Move from Lean Takeover (Republican) to Toss-Up.

Here are our latest gubernatorial ratings. 2009 races in italics.
# - Moved benefiting Democrats
* - Moved benefiting Republicans

Lean Takeover (4 R, 5 D)
  • CA Open (Schwarzenegger, R)
  • HI Open (Lingle, R)
  • RI Open (Carcieri, R)
  • VT Open (Douglas, R)
  • KS Open (Parkinson, D)
  • OK Open (Henry, D)
  • TN Open (Bredesen, D)
  • VA Open (Kaine, D)
  • WY Open (Freudenthal, D)
Toss-Up (4 R, 7 D)
  • Brewer (R-AZ)
  • Gibbons (R-NV)
  • FL Open (Crist, R)
  • MN Open (Pawlenty, R)
  • Corzine (D-NJ) #
  • Culver (D-IA)
  • Paterson (D-NY)
  • Ritter (D-CO)
  • MI Open (Granholm, D)
  • PA Open (Rendell, D)
  • WI Open (Doyle, D)
Narrow Advantage for Incumbent Party (1 R, 2 D)
  • GA Open (Perdue, R)
  • Patrick (D-MA)
  • Strickland (D-OH)
Clear Advantage for Incumbent Party (3 R, 3 D)
  • Rell (R-CT)
  • AL Open (Riley, R)
  • SC Open (Sanford, R)
  • Quinn (D-IL)
  • ME Open (Baldacci, D)
  • NM Open (Richardson, D)
Currently Safe (6 R, 4 D)
  • Herbert (R-UT)
  • Heineman (R-NE)
  • Otter (R-ID)
  • Parnell (R-AK)
  • Perry (R-TX)
  • SD Open (Rounds, R)
  • Beebe (D-AR)
  • Lynch (D-NH)
  • O'Malley (D-MD)
  • OR Open (Kulongoski, D)