Thursday, October 29, 2009

State of the Race: New Jersey Governor (10/29/09)

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Further north in New Jersey, the race for governor is shaping up to be a potential all-nighter. [Well, we have to have at least one every election cycle, I suppose. It won't be in New York City or Virginia.] FHQ will resist the urge to say that Corzine has comeback from the dead in this contest. Sure, the governor has inched up slightly of late, but he can't claim to have momentum other than to say that the race is tighter in a traditionally blue state. Fine, that could be considered momentum to some degree, but it pales in comparison to the negative momentum Republican Chris Christie has had in the surveys that have been released over the last handful of weeks. His descent since the end of September (at least in FHQ's measure -- see below) has been a marked contrast to the steady state that was typical of his summer in the polls. [There's no doubt that others saw a more pronounced gain for Christie during June and July.]

2009 New Jersey Gubernatorial Race Polling
Margin of Error
Democracy Corps [pdf]
Oct. 27-28, 2009
+/- 4%
604 likely voters
Daily Kos/Research 2000
Oct. 26-28, 2009
+/- 4%
600 likely voters
Survey USA
Oct. 26-28, 2009
+/- 4%
640 likely & actual voters

Those differences aside, this race is much closer than it was when the temperatures were hotter outside. You don't have to look much further than the three new polls released today to see that. But the race is so close, in fact, that people are starting to take note of things like the difference between the method in which polls are conducted -- via live interview or an automated phone call. FHQ mentioned this yesterday and Nate Silver has added his two cents on the matter today. I'm not trying to say I was on top of this first. I wasn't. Jim Geraghrty pointed it out first. Regardless, if you look at the chart at FiveThirtyEight you'll see that Corzine does well in live interview polls and Christie fares best in the automated surveys. Given FHQ's averages at the outset of the post, it is pretty easy to see that, at least statistically, we come down on the side of the automated polls. Our numbers reflect that side more. But that may be more a function of the fact that those polls have been more prevalent throughout the year (Those three polling firms alone make up about a third of the total number of polls conducted since the first of the year.). If you take the FiveThirtyEight data for what it is on the surface, we can look at the averages across the two types of polls and call it a tie; at least a race within the margin of error.

And that's likely where this one is headed on election day. For now, though, we grade Christie as slightly ahead of Corzine with the margin continuing to shrink.

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Recent Posts:
State of the Race: Virginia Governor (10/29/09)

Palin's Poll Numbers Look a Lot Like Quayle's

State of the Race: New Jersey Governor (10/28/09)


Robert said...

Does a plurality win this election or are they a runoff state?

Josh Putnam said...


General election runoffs are mostly a southern thing.

Robert said...

That is what I thought.