[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/04/art.corzine0304.gi.jpg caption="A new poll out Wednesday suggests Gov. Corzine could face a tough re-election bid in 2010."]
(CNN) - A new poll spells trouble for New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine's bid for re-election this year.
Forty percent of New Jersey registered voters questioned in a Fairleigh Dickinson University survey released Wednesday approve of the job Corzine is doing as their state's governor, while 46 percent disapprove. That's a reversal from January when 46 percent approved of Governor Corzine's performance and 40 percent disapproved of how he was handling his job.
The poll also indicates that only one on four New Jersey voters think the state is headed in the right direction.
The survey suggests that Corzine bests any possible contenders in the Democratic primary but reveals that Corzine could face problems in November's general election.
In a hypothetical matchup with former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, the leading Republican contender, Christie leads 41 percent to 32 percent. That's a switch from January, when Corzine held a seven point lead over Christie.
"This poll fits into a pattern we have been seeing for awhile," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Corzine's approval rating has been below 50% since 2007, and some polls have shown Corzine tied with Christie or behind him since last August. This economy may create tough sledding for many incumbents, and the fact that Corzine has a Wall Street background can't help."
National Republicans are eager for wins this November in New Jersey and Virginia, the two states holding off-year gubernatorial elections. Both contests are often seen as a referendum on the party in power which is now the Democrats.
The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll was conducted February 25-March 2, with 751 registered voters in New Jersey questioned by telephone. The survey has a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.