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Corzine Ahead, Daggett Gaining in Latest N.J. Poll

Longshot, independent candidate Chris Daggett continues to climb in the polls as the days draw closer to the New Jersey gubernatorial race, winning 20 percent of voters' support in the latest poll.

The Rutgers-Eagleton poll (PDF), conducted Oct. 15 - 20, puts incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine in the lead with 39 percent, followed by Republican Chris Christie with 36 percent and Daggett at 20 percent. This is the first poll to find Daggett at or above 20 percent support.

The hard-fought contest, which will decided on Nov. 3, brought President Obama to Hackensack, New Jersey on Wednesday night in support of Corzine.

"Jon Corzine is a serious man and he is serious about solving the problems of New Jersey," Mr. Obama said at a rally for the governor. "And we are coming down to the home stretch in this election. There's not a lot of time left. And in the days ahead, Jon is going to be talking to a lot of voters. He's going to be making a lot of speeches... But ultimately, the outcome of this race is not up to Jon -- it's up to you."

The Rutgers-Eagleton poll, however, shows that there are more voters with unfavorable impressions of Corzine and Christie than there are voters with favorable impressions of either men. Among the three candidates, only Daggett was perceived as more favorable than unfavorable -- 31 percent said they had a favorable opinion of him while 15 percent said unfavorable. More than half of respondents said they had no impression of him.

Daggett said on Washington Unplugged last week that his endorsement from the Newark Star-Ledger was a repudiation against the Republican and Democratic parties in New Jersey.

"One of the reasons I ran for governor was because I believe that the two party system in New Jersey is broken -- that both Democrats or Republicans have taken us into a deep financial mess in New Jersey and that neither party has the willingness or the ability to address the problems that face the state," he said.

The Rutgers-Eagleton poll showed that Daggett draws support from both parties, with 16 percent of his support from Democrats and 14 percent from Republicans. Independents split 35 percent for Christie, 31 percent for Daggett and 27 percent for Corzine. The poll indicated Daggett's independent support has come more at Christie's expense.

More on the New Jersey Campaign for Governor:
Can Obama Help Corzine in New Jersey?
By the Numbers: Election Trends and Demographics
Video: The Campaign So Far