CHRIS PUMMER: Jon Corzine still lags behind Chris Christie in polls of the New Jersey governor’s race. But there are a lot of reasons embattled incumbent Corzine should be happy to be within striking distance.
For starters, the demographics still favor the Democrat Corzine. With his party’s heavy voter-I.D. advantage, Corzine only needs his base to cast ballots for him — even if some choose to hold their nose while doing it.
And for another thing, Corzine still has plenty of bullets to fire at Christie. He hasn’t had to take many shots to date because Christie has done plenty to shoot himself in the foot.
With his candidacy based a clean, corruption-figher image, Christie has taken a few hits as details of possible abuses of power as a U.S. Attorney have come to light.
If Corzine is doing the smart thing and waiting until the final weeks of the campaign to assail Christie’s character with a blitz of media ads, the seven-point deficit he now faces could disappear quickly.
The fact is this race will go down to the wire, and I expect whoever wins to do so by less than four percent of the vote.
HOWARD MEGDAL: I can see why the huge deficit in the polls would lead you to think Corzine is holding back. But anyone who has watched television in Philadelphia or New York can tell you- this one’s been ugly for weeks.
The late-October stuff flew in late August. Jon Corzine is doing everything to bring down Chris Christie’s numbers. And to an extent, it is working- his unfavorables are way up.
The problem is, even Democrats don’t want to vote for Jon Corzine. The man got 75 percent of the primary vote, and his opponents were a 9/11 conspiracy nut and several other less-electable candidates. In some of these polls, Christie gets 62-65% of Dems. I mean, 80 percent is low. That’s a ridiculous number.
The third-party challenger is, in essence, nowhere to be found. He’s hiding out, letting the two major-party candidates destroy each other. I mean, he’s not Jesse Ventura. He’s a former state-level functionary. But the voters he’s got are ones that normally would go to Jon Corzine.
And most other years, I’d assume they’d find their way home to the Donkey. But this is a different animal. New Jersey likes to punish its politicians irrationally, party be damned. Ask Jim Florio, who raised taxes to cover a deficit created by Tom Kean. Ask Bill Bradley, who continually tried to point out he wasn’t responsible for Florio’s tax increase, that he was a part of the federal government, not the state government- New Jersey almost dumped him for Christie Todd Whitman!
Hell hath no fury like a New Jersey that’s been taxed. Jon Corzine is in deep trouble.