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Christie Seems To Connect With S. Jersey Voters on Personality If Not Policy

By Steve Tawa

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) -- New Jersey voters across the political spectrum believe a second term is all but assured for Governor Chris Christie, as challenger Barbara Buono -- the Democratic state senator from Metuchen -- has not gained much political traction.

Jack, who voted in Cherry Hill, doesn't think Buono had a good campaign.

"I just think she's made a poor showing," he said today.  "I think she's more competent than she's come across."

Another voter, Rosemarie, likes Christie but disagrees with his opposition to the ballot question on raising the minimum wage in New Jersey.

"Although  I don't agree with everything he does," she added.  "He's definitely a strong candidate."

On the Rutgers University campus in Camden, Asher says he was against the governor's now-dormant plan to merge the school with Rowan University.

"I don't hate him, though," Asher said. And what about Christie's personality?

"I kind of like him -- he seems like a real person. I saw him on 'The Daily Show (with Jon Stewart),' and he loves Bruce Springsteen."

The latest three polls showed Christie leading Buono by 20, 28, and 36 percentage points.

Outside the Paine Elementary School, Sharon said she was voting for Buono but acknowldged that Christie was a rising star in the Republican party, perhaps with presidential aspirations.

"He's an interesting character," Sharon said.  "I don't think he would be chosen (as the GOP's presidential candidate) -- ultimately he's too moderate.  I don't think he's what the Tea Party is looking for."

A random sampling of voters emerging from polling places shows strong support for increasing the minimum wage by $1, to $8.25 an hour, and tie future increases to the Consumer Price Index.

"Contrary to a lot of friends and families who want to leave it in the hands of businesses, i think we can afford a dollar," Sharon said.

"That's a tough one," a male voter said.  "I'm a businessman.  I think everybody wants to see folks make more money."

Gov. Christie vetoed a measure passed by the legislature for an $8.50/hour minimum, but has said he would support a $1 increase phased in over three years.

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