Corzine now has 43 to 38 percent lead among likely voters in the Quinnipiac University poll that was released released today. Independent candidate Christopher Daggett, who had been gaining momentum in some other recent polls, has 13 percent, with 5 percent undecided.
"You could see it coming. Gov. Jon Corzine's numbers crept steadily up and Christopher Christie's steadily shrank and now, for the first time, we have Corzine ahead," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
The latest numbers stand in stark contrast to early September, when Christie had a 10-point lead, as he hammered away at Corzine on taxes and corruption. Since then, Christie's lead eroded to just one point in the poll two weeks ago, likely the result of relentless negative ads by Corzine, an assist from President Obama, and the rise of third party challenger Chris Daggett.
While many voters expressed displeasure over Corzine's negative campaigning, he appears to be winning on trust, with 46 to 44 percent responding that Corzine is "honest and trustworthy," according to the poll. In this category, this is Corzine's best score to date. Just 37 percent of New Jersey voters say the same thing about Christie.
At the same time, Corzine cannot take his lead for granted, as disapproval of the job he has done as governor remains high among independent voters, at 68 percent. Only 29 percent of independents approve of the job he is doing. In addition, 60 percent of all likely voters also fear a rise in property taxes, if Corzine is reelected.
Seeking disaffected voters, Daggett's ads have attacked both of the two big-party candidates, and he has the potential to became a spoiler in the race. But as Election Day approaches and poll numbers between Corzine and Christie have become more volatile, his likely supporters could take an interest in choosing a frontrunner.
According to the poll, 38 percent of Daggett voters say they might change their mind, with 43 percent considering Christie, and 27 percent considering a vote for Corzine.
"A lot of Daggett's voters say they might change their minds by Election Day," said Carroll. "Where will they go?"
The poll was conducted between October 20 and 26, surveying 1,267 likely voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.
More on the New Jersey Campaign for Governor:
Has Corzine Pulled Ahead?
Corzine Ahead, Daggett Gaining in Latest N.J. Poll
Can Obama Help Corzine in New Jersey?
By the Numbers: Election Trends and Demographics
Washington Unplugged: An interview with Chris Daggett
Video: The Campaign So Far