(CNN) - A new poll of New Jersey voters suggests independent candidate Chris Daggett continues to make gains in that state's highly competitive gubernatorial race, primarily peeling support away from Republican challenger Chris Christie in campaign's final days.
Daggett, whom the Newark Star-Ledger surprisingly endorsed earlier this month, stands at 20 percent in the new survey conducted by Rutgers University, the highest level of support the former administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency has registered in any poll of the race to date.
Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine meanwhile holds a narrow lead over Christie, the state's former district attorney, 39 percent to 36 percent. But given the poll's 4 percentage point sampling error, the two are statistically tied.
"A rule of thumb among political junkies says that that the actual vote for a third-party candidate tends to be roughly half of what that candidate was getting in pre-election polls around Labor Day," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But Daggett has been gaining ground since those Labor Day polls, so he may be one of the few independents who finishes strong and has a significant impact on the final results."
If nothing else, Daggett's growing support could mean the ultimate victor wins with less than 40 percent of the vote, a reflection of how unsatisfied New Jersey voters appear to be with all three candidates.
The Rutgers survey also shows both Christie and Corzine have net negative approval ratings and voters are deeply concerned with taxes, unemployment, and corruption in the state.
The poll of 583 likely voters was conducted October 15-20.
new jersey taxes are crazy high!! How is anyone suppose to make it in this state with such high taxes?
Why doesn't this man just go away? You rarely heard a peep from him when our taxes were paying his wages. Do we really care what he has to say now?
Dude's pulling a Ralph Nader. Awesome! The disappointment for the Conserva-bots in the upcoming election cycles begins...NOW!
concervatives will look at independents, liberals will just do what they are told and vote for corzine.
Good news! If NJ votes in the loser Corzine, that totally corrupt state will not longer have a right to complain!
I'm in CA, but I'm rooting for you Mr. Corzine!!!!
Conservatives will vote for the moron, every time. Liberals will pick the most capable candidate, which is NEVER a conservative nor a republican. History proves republicans and conservatives RUIN Countries, States and Cities.
NJ Is a Blue State and it will stay that way, no way are they gonna put Christie in. he is way to linked to Bush! They may not be happy with Corzine but at the end of the day THEY AINT VOTING FOR A BUSH REPUBLICAN.
Christie is in trouble.
I hope Daggett wins! i don't have a "dog in the fight" since I don't live in New Jersey and could really care less if they continue their destructive ways and put Corzine back in. But, for their own good, I hope they get the non-party affiliated candidate. That would be some welcomed change.
You sometimes wonder if Dems finance third party canidates to do this. If it wasn't for Ross Perot, there might not have been some Dem Presidents.
I want Corzine to win and do better in respect to crime and misappropriation of funds in the government.
Republicans have GOT to get in the GAME! We're ALL totally UNITED – KEEP it up! Let's donate our time/money and as obama says... "get in their faces." Let's take obama's message and get Republicans in the office!
Lived in Jersey for a few years, never ever want to go back !
Can't even pump ypur own gas there because of Govt restrictions.
Once again, the conservative purists will let the Liberal win rather than compromise to support a less than perfect conservative candidate. They will thus deserve what they get.
Independent Candidate are any day better than Republican Candidates.
Republican Party Ideologies are Failed and Bogus.
Hmm ... Maybe if CNN spent more time reporting actual news rather than polls they would really earn a reputation as "the most trusted name" in news.
I have no regrets about moving out of (escaping from?) NJ. I have no doubt that the electorate will vote for the candidate that they most deserve.
I hope Corzine wins. America needs a laughing stock state and NJ is the perfect candidate.
In response to the "Republicans need to Rally" comment. Silly perspective, particularly in light of the fact that its the republican philosophy that has gotten us into such a mess. This is not a "GAME" as the writer suggests, we are addressing serious times needing serious people.
Wasn't that long ago that an independent candidate named Jesse Ventura won the governorship of Minnesota with 37% of the vote in a 3-way race because of voter dissatisfaction with the R & D candidates.
It's not outside of the realm of possibility that Daggett could do the same thing, if he has the funding and the campaign smarts to take advantage of the situation in the last 1 1/2 weeks.
Christie might have had a runaway here if only he had 1. a basic understanding of the budget problems of this state and 2. a plan to deal with it.
Regardless of the final outcome, Christie has run one of the most inept campaigns I have ever seen, and I am a huge political junkie.
A vote for Dagget is a vote for Christie.
How can anyone possibly vote for Corzine. Our state's property taxes are the HIGHEST IN THE NATION. Our state's unemployment rate is ridiculous. It is the highest amoung all the states in the region. Corzine's high taxes have driven business out of New Jersey. How can anyone possible vote for Corzine. it doesn't make sense. Educate yourselves people. Do not listen to media rhetoric. Vote for Christie so we can get this state back on track.
Awesome! We need a third party........