Corzine fading in New Jersey?

After Jon Corzine appeared to pull back into the race for his re-election to the governor’s chair in New Jersey, Barack Obama poured on the support to help push him over the top.  According to the final PPP poll in New Jersey, it didn’t work.  Corzine has fallen off the pace and now trails outside the margin of error in the Garden State, with Chris Christie pulling away in the final week:

Chris Christie leads Jon Corzine 47-41 in PPP’s final poll of the New Jersey Governor’s race, with Chris Daggett at 11%.

Corzine had pulled to within a point of Christie on our poll three weeks ago after trailing by as many as 14 points over the summer, but his momentum has stalled since then and Christie’s built his lead back up to 4 points last week and now 6.

Christie’s advantage is due largely to his support from independents and because he has Republicans more unified around him than the Democrats are around Corzine. Christie leads Corzine 52-29 with indies, as Daggett’s support with that group has declined to 16%. Christie is getting 82% of Republicans to Corzine’s 72% of Democrats.

What about Daggett’s role as a spoiler?  Right now, he’s spoiling Corzine more than Christie.  Corzine has a nine-point edge among Daggett voters as a second choice, which indicates that the third-party bid has begun working in favor of the Republicans.  Unfortunately for Corzine, though, that gap isn’t enough to put him back in the lead if significant numbers of Daggett voters abandon the third-party choice in tomorrow’s election.

Bear in mind that pollsters make a big effort to get the final polls before an election correct.  They get judged on their accuracy based on the votes in the election, after all.  A big miss makes them less credible than their competition, which means less business later.  Sample problems suddenly disappear and biases get ironed out, although with PPP that has not been much of a problem anyway.

Jim Geraghty still advises caution:

At this point, I can see reaons why Christie will win (voters know Corzine, don’t like him, and don’t expect better in his term) and why Corzine will win (a barrage of negative advertising has convinced them Christie wouldn’t improve things).

Just FYI, this poll splits 44 percent Democrat, 36 percent Republican, 20 percent independent/other.

An eight-point lead for Democrats in New Jersey may be a little thin, but it’s not out of range.  We’ll certainly see tomorrow.

Quinnipiac also has Christie surging and Corzine fading, although they have it in the margin of error.  They also have Daggett hurting Corzine more than Christie now:

In the see-saw New Jersey Governor’s race, Republican challenger Christopher Christie has 42 percent to Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine’s 40 points, with 12 percent for independent candidate Christopher Daggett, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Six percent remain undecided.

This compares to a 43 – 38 percent Gov. Corzine lead, with 13 percent for Daggett, in an October 28 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University.

Among Daggett supporters, 38 percent say they might change their mind: 39 percent say Corzine is their second choice, while 29 percent say Christie is number two.

If Corzine loses, the White House will try to spin it as a state issue with no impact on national events.  That will be much more difficult to sell in New Jersey than in Virginia, where Creigh Deeds has kept Obama at arms’ length.  Corzine has practically had the White House running his campaign over the last month, and Obama talking more than Corzine on the stump.  A Corzine loss would have to be seen as a rejection of Obama by a state that has been a safe haven for Democrats for many years.