[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/01/art.njrace.gi.jpg caption="With seven weeks until election day, a new poll of likely New Jersey voters indicates Republican challenger Chris Christie holds an eight point lead,"](CNN) - With seven weeks until election day, a new poll of likely New Jersey voters indicates Republican challenger Chris Christie holds an eight point lead over incumbent Democrat Gov. Jon Corzine.
According to a Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey poll, 47 percent of likely voters in the Garden State back Christie, the former federal prosecutor in New York, for governor, with 39 percent supporting Corzine - who's fighting for a second term as governor - and five percent backing independent candidate Chris Daggett.
Christie's eight point lead is down from a 14 point advantage he held in a Monmouth University survey in August.
The survey suggests that Christie leads Corzine 82 percent to 8 percent among Republicans and that Corzine has built up his support within his own party and now leads Christie among Democrats 77 percent to 8 percent.
The poll also indicates Christie ahead among Independents, 45 percent to 30 percent. Christie's 15 point lead among Independents is down five points from last month.
"A Republican holding a steady poll lead is unprecedented in recent New Jersey elections and this shouldn't be discounted. But the results also indicate there is a lot of churning in this electorate. Despite the incumbent's continued unpopularity, there is still a sense that anything can happen," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
When all registered voters are considered, not just those likely to vote in November, the survey suggests a dead heat, with 41 percent backing Corzine, 40 percent supporting Christie and six percent backing Daggett.
The Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll was conducted September 8-10, with 752 New Jersey registered voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points for registered voters and plus or minus 4.3 percentage points for the 531 likely voters questioned in the poll.