With the election just eight days away, a Suffolk University poll out Monday finds that incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine has opened up a nine-point lead over Republican rival Chris Christie in the race for New Jersey governor.
The poll also finds support for independent Chris Daggett, who has been considered a major factor in the race, at just seven percent.
Corzine and Christie have been in a dead heat in recent days – an Associated Press poll less than a week ago showed them tied – but momentum has lately been with Corzine, who seemed to be in serious trouble earlier this year, when polls showed he badly trailed the Republican in his largely Democratic state.
David Paleologos, director of the Political Research Center at Suffolk University in Boston, told New Jersey's Star-Ledger that Corzine's campaign "is peaking at the right time for him."
Christie, left, dismissed the poll, suggesting that the poll is an outlier and stating that he is "absolutely confident I'm going to win this thing."
And, indeed, perhaps the survey should be taken with a grain of salt: Suffolk included all 12 candidates on the ballot in its questioning, which is not something most pollsters do and would seem to benefit an incumbent with high name recognition.
And veteran New Jersey pollster Patrick Murray has also raised questions about the methodology, raising issues about the poll's likely voter model and party identification calculations.
Across the river from New Jersey, meanwhile, we find the New York City mayor's race, where the story has been pretty standard from day one: It's looking awfully good for Michael Bloomberg.
Bloomberg, who has spent more of his own money than anyone in United States history on a campaign in his quest for a (controversial) third term, leads Democratic nominee and state comptroller Bill Thompson 53 percent to 35 percent among likely voters, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll. Ten percent are undecided.
Bloomberg secured the endorsement of New York's major newspapers over the weekend. While his campaign has been far from flawless, Thompson's message – that the mayor is a Republican billionaire ignoring the will of the people and enriching his wealthy friends at the expense of the common man – doesn't appear to be resonating with voters.
It hasn't helped Thompson that he is at a huge spending disadvantage against Bloomberg or that he has received tepid support from the White House and the rest of the Democratic political establishment.
In the other much-watched off-year contest, meanwhile – the Virginia governor's race – the news is not good for Democrat R. Creigh Deeds. A new Washington Post poll finds Deeds trailing Republican Robert F. McDonnell 55 percent to 44 percent in a state that Republicans are quick to note went blue in the 2008 election.