The race for governor continues to tighten in New Jersey.

A new Emerson College/PIX 11 poll finds just six points separates Democratic incumbent Phil Murphy and Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli.

The Rutgers-Eagleton Poll had Murphy with a 26 point lead in May. That lead has steadily decreased in each successive poll. A Stockton University poll had his lead down to 9 points in September.

A closer look inside the poll numbers find reasons for each candidate to be encouraged in the home stretch of their respective campaigns.

Early voters have overwhelmingly chose Phil Murphy, 76% to 24%. However, among those who say they are "very likely" to vote, Ciattarelli leads 48% to 45%.

Ciattarelli also leads among independent voters, and 7% of those polled by Emerson say they have yet to make up their minds.

Murphy also continues to get high marks for his handling of the pandemic. 56% agree with his vaccine mandates and 52% say he would do a better job at handling the pandemic moving forward.

As I reported earlier this week, internal polls from both campaigns have shown this race is much closer than current public polls. Murphy started shuffling his executive staff earlier this month to direct more manpower to his campaign. One long-time democratic strategist told me Murphy's biggest asset right now is time, believing Ciattarelli does not have enough time left to fully close the gap and win on November 2.

Murphy is also bringing in more star power to help in the final weeks of the campaign. President Joe Biden will campaign for Murphy in Newark eight days before election day.

Early voting locations in each NJ county

Each county in the state will have between three and 10 early voting locations, open daily for the 2021 general election from Oct. 23 through Oct. 31. The sites will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. except for Sundays, when they will close at 6 p.m.

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