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Christie and Booker with Big Leads in New Poll [AUDIO]

The lead over Sen. Barbara Buono was huge for Gov. Chris Christie in an August poll conducted Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind and in today’s survey it’s even bigger.

Governor Chris Christie and Mayor Cory Booker share a laugh
Governor Chris Christie and Mayor Cory Booker share a laugh at ribbon cutting of Teachers Village in Newark (Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen)

Democrat Cory Booker is also cruising over Republican Steve Lonegan.

Despite keeping a packed public schedule, Buono has done nothing to cut into Christie’s lead.

“Among registered voters today, Christie attracts the support of 58 percent to Buono’s 25 percent,” says Krista Jenkins, director of PublicMind and professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University. “In our August survey, Christie led Buono 50 to 26 percent.”

Unlike the Governor, Buono continues to struggle to get the support of Democrats. Although 44 percent of Democrats support Buono, more than a third (38 percent) say they will vote for Christie. The has the support of 9 in 10 Republicans, and 53 percent of Independents.

“Senator Buono has an opportunity to make some inroads in the two scheduled gubernatorial debates tonight and on October 15, ” says Jenkins, “But she’ll need more than good debate performances to close a gap of this magnitude.”

The debates will give Christie a chance to clarify his position on issues like gay marriage, something about which the public seems to disagree with him. Buono will have an opportunity to clarify her positions too.

In the special election U.S. Senate, Democrat Cory Booker maintains a solid lead over his Republican opponent, Steve Lonegan (45 to 29 percent, respectively) among registered voters. Only 33 percent could accurately identify both candidates.

“Lonegan has clearly made some inroads since the last time we asked registered voters the same question,” explains Jenkins. “In August, 50 percent favored Booker with 22 favoring Lonegan, or a gap favoring Booker that’s been narrowed by twelve points.”

Voters don’t know much about where the candidates stand on the issues. Three-quarters couldn’t identify where Booker and Lonegan each stand on the issue of domestic surveillance, and 55 percent don’t know where Booker stands on more gun control, with 73 percent unsure of Lonegan’s position on the issue.

“Voters just don’t know much about these candidates,” says Jenkins. “This is clear from their uncertainty over what they think each candidate believes about domestic surveillance and gun control, as well as the inability of many voters to identify who’s running next week. Party identification is clearly standing in as a proxy for voters rather than familiarity with a candidate’s issue stands.”

The poll of 702 registered voters in New Jersey was conducted by telephone with both landline and cell phones from September 30 through October 5, 2013, and has a margin of error of +/-3.7 percentage points.

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