Republican New Jersey Gubernatorial hopeful Chris Christie exits the voting booth after casting his vote (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
(CNN) - With 28 percent of the vote counted in New Jersey's gubernatorial race, Republican Chris Christie leads Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine 50 percent to 44 percent. Independent candidate Christopher Daggett has 6 percent of the votes counted so far.
(CNN) - With just hours to go until Election day, two new polls suggest New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine's in a statistical tie with his Republican challenger, Chris Christie.
According to a Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind survey released Monday afternoon, 43 percent of likely New Jersey voters back Corzine, the Democratic incumbent fighting for a second term, and 41 percent support Christie, the former federal prosecutor in the Garden State. Eight percent back independent candidate Chris Daggett, and 7 percent support other candidates, or are undecided.
Corzine's 2-point advantage is well within the poll's sampling error. Christie was up 2 points over Corzine in a Fairleigh Dickenson University survey released Friday.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/22/art.govs.cnn.jpg caption="Republican Chris Christie and Independent Chris Daggett trail Gov. Jon Corzine, a new poll suggests."](CNN) - With eight days left until voters go to the polls, a new survey suggests that New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine has opened up a 9 point lead over his Republican challenger, former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie.
Most polls in New Jersey over the past month have indicated that the race between Corzine and Christie was tied or within the margin of error, with Independent candidate Chris Daggett polling in the low double digits.
But according to a Suffolk University poll released Monday, 42 percent of likely Garden State voters back Corzine, while 33 percent support Christie and 7 percent back Daggett. Fourteen percent of those questioned said they are undecided.
"That 14 percent figure is high compared to other recent New Jersey polls, which have shown the undecideds closer to six or seven percent," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "That may account for some of the difference between the Suffolk poll and others. If Christie voters are hiding in the undecided category, that may mean a closer race than the poll indicates."
The poll also suggests that regardless of how whom they support, nearly six in ten voters believe Corzine will win - double the amount of people who think Christie will come out on top.
The Suffolk University of Massachusetts poll was conducted October 22-25, with 400 likely New Jersey voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/22/art.govs.cnn.jpg caption="A new poll of New Jersey voters suggests independent candidate Chris Daggett, center, continues to make gains."](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.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/01/art.njrace.gi.jpg caption="Republican Chris Christie, left, criticized Gov. Jon Corzine over his handling over the state economy."](CNN) - The three candidates for New Jersey governor squared off on Thursday night in Trenton at the first gubernatorial debate of the general election, a match-up that featured heated exchanges over taxes, the economy and the unusual political topic of mammograms.
Republican Chris Christie wants to allow out-of-state insurers to offer health care plans that can bypass New Jersey's 45 coverage mandates, which he says drive up costs. But Gov. Jon Corzine, a Democrat, has blasted Christie for his proposal with a hard-hitting ad accusing Christie of wanting to drop mandated coverage for breast cancer exams.
Christie called on Corzine to pull the ad and apologize.
"I would not have a plan that would ever prevent any woman who needed a mammogram to get one, the governor knows it, and this is just another example of his shameful campaign," Christie said.
Corzine argued the mandates are essential. "I'd rather stand with the women of New Jersey than with the insurance companies," he responded.
The underdog third party candidate - independent Chris Daggett - also turned in a confident performance that could enhance his profile with voters, a boost that would likely benefit the governor, since polls show Daggett draining support from Christie.