Uh Oh: Christie’s Enormous Lead over Buono Isn’t So Enormous Anymore

Daniel Doherty

8/21/2013 11:00:00 AM - Daniel Doherty

I know, I know -- he’s still winning by 20 percentage points. But still:

Gov. Chris Christie's lead in his race for re-election is shrinking, according to a new poll.

The Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press poll, released today, shows Christie still leads Democratic challenger Barbara Buono 56 to 36 percent among likely voters — a 20-point advantage.

But that's a 10-point drop from Monmouth's last poll in June.

Still, Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said it won't be enough for Buono to win.

"The trend suggests that New Jersey Democrats are coming back home," Murray said. "But it's not quite enough for Buono to overcome Christie's sizable advantage among independents."

Nah, I didn’t think so. Barbara Buono, meanwhile, has sought to portray her opponent as an exceedingly ambitious man more fixated on running for president in 2016 than governing the Garden State for the next four years. But has the strategy paid off? No, not really:

Buono's campaign has also criticized Christie for being more concerned about his possible presidential run than his role as governor. The poll shows that 19 percent of voters say Christie is definitely running for the White House and 60 percent say he is probably going to run.

"Convincing more voters that Gov. Christie has his eyes set on the White House may narrow the gap for Buono, but is unlikely to close it," Murray said.

Indeed. Of course, nothing is certain in politics, but Governor Christie is about as well positioned as any incumbent governor (running for re-election) could possibly hope to be. Why? Because 21 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Independents already support his candidacy, that’s why. (Remember, New Jersey is as blue a state as they come). And while he might lose some supporters as Election Day draws closer, he’s nevertheless sitting pretty with an enormous lead. By comparison, only 5 percent of Republicans and 23 percent of Independents support his challenger, Barbara Buono, although most Democrats are firmly in her camp already. In other words, these are enormous deficits to overcome in just a few short months. Can she even do it, I wonder?

I guess we’ll know soon enough.