Poll: NJ governor's unpopularity grows

April 22, 2009 5:24:47 AM PDT
Gov. Jon S. Corzine has drawn the wrath of a record number of New Jerseyans, according to a new poll that suggests voter disgust over the faltering economy could upend the Democratic incumbent's re-election effort. In a Quinnipiac University Poll released Wednesday, 54 percent disapprove of the incumbent governor's job performance, compared to 37 percent who approve. That's the worst showing in 13 years of New Jersey polling by Quinnipiac. Some 55 percent say Corzine does not deserve to be re-elected.

Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said the dismal economy has left Corzine vulnerable to a re-election challenge.

Only a third of voters polled approve of the way Corzine, a former CEO of Goldman Sachs, is handling the economy; nearly 60 percent disapprove.

"The economy is killing Corzine's approval rating in New Jersey so much that he is vulnerable not only to a strong challenger such as Chris Christie but a lesser-known Republican such as Steve Lonegan," Richards said.

The poll has Corzine trailing Christie, the former U.S. attorney and Republican front-runner, 45 percent to 38 percent, and tying conservative Lonegan at 41 percent. Christie led Corzine by 9 percentage points in a March 12 Quinnipiac poll.

Christie leads Lonegan for the Republican nomination, but the poll indicates that Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota in Bergen County, is quickly gaining ground.

The latest poll has Christie topping Lonegan 46 percent to 37 percent among likely Republican primary voters. A February poll had Christie leading 44 percent 17 percent.

Christie, Lonegan and Assemblyman Rick Merkt of Morris County will square off June 2 for the right to challenge Corzine in November.

The poll of 2,222 New Jersey registered voters taken April 14-20 has a sampling error margin of plus-or-minus 2.1 percentage points. A subset of 486 Republican likely voters has a smpling error margin of plus-or-minus 4.5 percentage points.

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On the Net: http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml

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