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The Most Important Number in Politics Today

Gov. Jon Corzine continues to struggle to break 40 percent in his re-election bid. AP Photo/Mel Evans


That's the percentage of the vote New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D) took in a new Quinnipiac poll that showed him narrowing former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie's (R) lead to just four points.

Democrats, rightly, touted the data as the latest sign that Christie's seemingly insurmountable lead has crumbled. "Voters are clearly starting to learn that Christie has one set of rules for himself and another for everyone else," said Democratic Governors Association communications director Emily DeRose.

And yet, the fact that Corzine can't break 40 percent of the vote in a head-to-head matchup with Christie bodes poorly for the incumbent's chances of ultimately coming out on top.

The last four Q polls have put Corzine at 38 percent (July), 40 percent (August), 37 percent (early September) and 39 (late September). During that same time Christie's numbers had stayed steady (47 percent, 46 percent, 47 percent) until they dropped some -- down to 43 percent -- in the latest Quinnipiac survey.

Rather than voters moving away from Christie and to Corzine then, they have moved to Independent candidate Chris Daggett who moved from eight percent in the July Q poll to 12 percent in the most recent survey despite the fact that more than eight in ten voters (84 percent) don't know enough about Daggett to offer an opinion of him.

That Corzine has not moved up while Christie has moved down is a sign that voters continue to look for any alternative to casting a vote for the governor -- whose 56 percent unfavorable rating hasn't budged in a significant way over the past three months.

As we have said before, Corzine's ceiling in this race is somewhere around 43 or 44 percent. For Corzine to win then, he needs Daggett to keep rising as voters grow more and more disdainful of the two major party candidates.

Running counter to that scenario, however, is the fact that third-party candidates almost always underperform polls on election day as voters blanch at the idea of throwing their vote away on a candidate who can't win.

Corzine remains in deep trouble with roughly one month to go before election day. The race is winnable but the governor's fate is tied directly to how credible Daggett can be in the eyes of New Jersey voters.

By Chris Cillizza  |  September 30, 2009; 12:10 PM ET
Categories:  Most Important Number  
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Next: Democrats Ratchet Up Pressure On Snowe



OK, how about this as a compromise -- I won't tell you it's raining if you admit I did not "troll" this thread at least ; )

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

You understand perfectly, JakeD, it is the content of your posts that I am objecting to, not the form. When people start posting conspiracy theories, mean spirited comments about individuals or institutions (public or private) or assertions that is supposed to derail a discussion, they are trolling. With so much trolling here, it is impossible to have an intelligent discussion about political prospects, which is what this blog is about and what this comments section should be about.

In the end, trolling is about common sense. Scrivner50 may have made only one post and discussed Christie. However that one post was a huge block of text in a scroll down format discussion area and the contents of that post were manifestly asinine. I am quite sure that you are well aware of this. Don't piss on my boot and tell me it's raining.

To your credit, JakeD, you have made many non-trolling posts, these posts are good for discussion. But you frequently troll and troll bait, which is bad for discussion.

Posted by: theamazingjex | October 1, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

It's not absolutely required that every day feature a "most important number" entry. Given all that's happening like the breakdown in political civility and the cooking of our one and only world I think there are bigger fish to fry than a gubernatorial race in New Jersey.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 30, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Yet another thread clogged with JakeD's stupid and repetitive posts, making real discussion all but impossible.

Is this what you want in your blog, Chris?

The valuable contributors driven away by one valueless one.

I guess you've decided it's worth it, huh?

How about another "name-calling" or "stay on topic" post, again ignoring the real problem here.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 30, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry, broadwayjoe, pResident Obama will come to the rescue with a newspaper bailout bill soon enough (not including the Wall Street Journal, of course ; )

Posted by: JakeD | September 30, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Good fact-based post, CC. Our take: On votin' day, folks tend not to throw away their votes on "independents" no matter what they may have told the pollsters earlier. Advantage: Corzine.

@d: agreed. A recent Daily Kos post's analysis pointed out BHO's approvals are right where they were on election day. So, you're right, things have just smoothed out. The higher numbers awhile back (60+) reflected many folks who were never with our President in the first place. His numbers would be higher, by BHO's own admission, if it weren't for Faux News's all day hate broadcasting--basically a 24/7 free attack ad against the President.
It's too bad BHO won't let the FCC's Mark Lloyd loose and do his "Fairness Doctrine" thing. Oh well.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | September 30, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse


What are you talking about? There was still plenty to respond to "drivel" about -- I pointed out that there were many more ACTUAL threats against President Bush than Obama -- don't sell your side short like that!

Posted by: JakeD | September 30, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse


What is going on here? This is out of control. With all this drivel, I see nothing to respond to!

Posted by: Gator-ron | September 30, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse


I posted ON TOPIC in this thread twice (now once "off topic" responding to you, for a grand total of three times), plus one post laughing at snowbama's joke. Please explain how that is "idiotic trolling" -- as opposed to YOUR post -- or not "decent conduct"? Thank you in advance for your anticipated reply.

Posted by: JakeD | September 30, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

TO: "theamazingjex" @ 4:03 p.m.

Scrivener's post on Chris Christie in this thread is right on point. Scrivener does not spam with an excessive number of posts per thread, as do others.

Are you sure it's not the CONTENT of his posts that provokes your call for censorship of scrivener50?

Do you work at THIS place? (See link below.) If you don't, you post still sounds like lame psy ops to my well-tuned ear.

Posted by: scrivener50 | September 30, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Chris, it's time to take out the trash. You need to get rid of the idiotic trolling in these comments if there is ever going to be any sort of meaningful discussion. Every time I get interested enough to start commenting, I start reading the moronic postings of individuals like snowboma, JakeD and scriviner50 (what, has he been banned 49 times before?) and lose interest.

Even the grandstanding of those like drindl needs to be halted if there is going to be any real discussion. He is not outright trolling, but his off topic comments are cluttering the comments. He can probably be made to shape up, but if he doesn't he should be banned for the sake of on topic discussion.

A comments system does not naturally restrict itself to any sort of standard. I can understand how you might be reluctant to alienate people. However by refusing to alienate them, you are alienating many, many more people. This is your comments section, Chris, not their personal soapbox, posting here should be a privlidge to those with decent conduct, not a right.

Posted by: theamazingjex | September 30, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

KOZ, John Carter was my roommate my last semester in law school. We had a house over a low fence from the school [it no longer exists]. I consider him a friend, although his politics are more conservative than mine by a stretch. He was an excellent trial judge. I lent his golf clubs to a mutual friend with his permission and the mutual friend's wife sold them at a garage sale. Whenever I would walk into his courtroom he would yell at me "Where are my golf clubs?"

He is right to be calling old Charlie's hand.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | September 30, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, the corruption lingers under new management:

House Republicans are threatening to introduce another resolution calling on Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) to give up his gavel in the wake of news reports that he amended his financial disclosure reports to show more than $600,000 in assets previously unreported. Republican Conference Secretary John Carter (RTexas) said he will give Rangel until next week to voluntarily resign the chairmanship or he will introduce a privileged resolution to force his removal.

Let's review. under the democrats we have:

massive spending and deficits
ongoing and pervasive corruption
total lack of leadership
fights war by polling Kos
huge government takeover of everything
dazed and confused at the switch
raft of empty unfullfilled promises

Posted by: snowbama | September 30, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Republican Robert F. McDonnell has bounced back to a nine-point lead over Democrat R. Creigh Deeds in the race to become Virginia’s next governor. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Virginia voters finds McDonnell attracting 51% of the vote while Deeds picks up 42%. Over the past two weeks, McDonnell’s support has gone up three percentage points while Deeds has lost four points.

the failure of gotcha politics. or just another Lib goes down in flames due to a total lack of a program.

Posted by: snowbama | September 30, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

n unemployable leech on society who does nothing


for the record, I am not nor have ever been...............a democrat.

Posted by: snowbama | September 30, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

tht's because they're all infantile, mentally regressed whiny babies, margaret. look at the worthless snobama/zouk -- for instance -- an unemployable leech on society who does nothing but whine on this blog all day long.

Posted by: drindl | September 30, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Drindl is quite right. The GOP has been serving it up, but they get all prissy when it's given back. Whimps, weasels and losers.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | September 30, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Obama's Work Ethic
Lifted, carried, embellished and ghost written. Why would he know how to work?

Barack Obama has displayed a disturbing pattern of work ethics: shirking work; claiming success when he was not entitled to do so; hiding his failures; and claiming the work of others as his own -- when it was successful. These are not character traits that we should associate with Presidents.

Actual investigative journalism. not to be seen on the effete media, of course.

Posted by: snowbama | September 30, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

On the economy, Obama has either leveled out or even improved slightly.

Fox News puts Obama's approval at 55%-40% -- an improvement from Fox's July figure of 50%-43%. NBC/WSJ didn't show any significant improvement, but nor was there any degradation, with Obama at 50%-42% on the economy, compared to 49%-44% in July. CBS/NYT put him at 50%-40% on this, down slightly from 53%-41% in August, and essentially the same as 51%-41% in July -- and not really showing any statistically significant movement at all.

But public perceptions of the economy itself are equally telling and may serve as a leading indicator of the president's and his party's standing going into 2010. The public's perception of the overall economy is a key indicator in politics, which can have a serious impact on the incumbent party and the challengers -- just look at how there was a big swing to Obama last year, right when the market began to crash. Here, the perceptions are definitely improving. And that will be a key issue for the Democrats now that they're the ones in charge. The polls here show that the economy is certainly viewed as being bad -- but a growing number of people think it's starting to improve.

One question in the latest CBS/NYT poll suggests that the public is not only seeing improvements in the economy but may be connecting those improvements to President Obama's policies: "So far, do you think the government's stimulus package has made the economy better, made the economy worse, or has it had no impact on the economy so far?" The answer was 36% better, 13% worse, 46% no impact -- compared to a 25%-13%-57% split in August. Thus we have an 11-point swing from the no-impact column to the better column.

Posted by: drindl | September 30, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

A slew of recent polling data points to a conclusion that might have seemed hard to believe amidst the town hall craziness in the dog days of August and early September: President Obama's numbers have not only stabilized but actually seem to be showing a modest uptick. And by several other measures the political landscape for Democrats isn't nearly as bleak as it was being portrayed just a few weeks ago.

There's enough data to conclude that August, rather than being a public support train-wreck for the president was actually an inflection point, when the downward trend flattened out, and in some cases began crawling back upward.

Presidential Approval

The numbers here all show that Obama's decline from his honeymoon period has essentially stopped -- and that he has leveled out in a solid territory.

Just a month ago, the talk had been about how Obama's approval rating had fallen from its prior, unnatural honeymoon highs. He'd reached 50% in Gallup, a key measure, and seemed ready to dip below 50% at any time.

But a funny thing happened: A further dip never happened. Instead, he leveled out and even seems to be enjoying a modest rebound.

A CBS/New York Times poll put him at 56%-33%, compared to 56%-35% in August. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has him at 51%-41%, compared to 51%-40% in August. A Fox News poll has him at 54%-39%, compared to 53%-40% in August.

Posted by: drindl | September 30, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Facebook users and the national media are wringing their hands over the appalling poll that was posted on Facebook asking users if Barack Obama should be assassinated. Facebook has since taken down the poll, created by a third party user (Snip) Several groups on Facebook are dedicated to the demise of George W. Bush. Most of the dozen or so groups dedicated to killing him however, have only a few followers

Oh, oh drindl. your entire world view is collapsing.

Posted by: snowbama | September 30, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse



* Warrantless covert GPS/cellphone tracking of unjustly targeted citizens is the electronic backbone of a nationwide, extrajudicial vigilante Gestapo that makes a mockery of the rule of law. When will President Obama issue an executive order outlawing government-enabled "community stalking" TERRORISM?

As U.S. attorney, Chris Christie approved the covert tracking via cellphones of so-called "targeted" citizens" without first obtaining a court warrant, according to the New Jersey office of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Covert GPS tracking, using cellphones and covertly implanted GPS beacons secreted in or on the vehicles of so-called "targets," is the telecommunications backbone of a Bush-Cheney- spawned extrajudicial targeting and punishment apparatus -- a nationwide Gestapo-like network that continues under a naive or misinformed Obama administration.

This extra-legal Gestapo is destroying lives and livelihoods of many thousands of unjustly targeted U.S. citizens by way of organized vigilante "community stalking" and an array of secret "programs of personal financial destruction."

Many of the civilian community stalkers are affiliated with federally funded volunteer community policing, public safety and anti-terrorism programs that target those considered to be political "dissidents" or "trouble-makers" -- what victims say amounts to an ideologically-driven campaign of "social cleansing." Military veterans also have been recruited for civilian stalking duty, victims say.

Victims also allege that they are physically tortured with silent, injury- and illness-inducing microwave and laser radiation "directed energy weapons" deployed under programs administered by various federal agencies. This weaponization of the electromagnetic spectrum has profound implications for society, because this silent technology makes possible the "perfect crime" -- the undetectable application of potentially deadly force.

Candidate Christie and the federal officials who have enabled tracking of American citizens should be held to account for a wholesale violation of constitutional rights.

For more: OR

Posted by: scrivener50 | September 30, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Abortion and immigration are also pending controversies in the House, where Democratic leaders hope to finalize legislation this week that would merge the work of three separate committees into one. House Democrats are struggling over how to pare the bill down to $900 billion over 10 years — Obama's preferred price tag and about how much the Senate Finance version costs.

but wait, didn't the liar in chief already promise us this was taken care of?

But I am happy he closed Gitmo so fast.

what, you don't say?

Well certainly he is still waging that just war in afghanistan? what????

At least he has charmed Iran out of its nuclear ambitions. that was a relief.

Posted by: snowbama | September 30, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

In a vote with far-reaching political implications, senators writing a health care overhaul Wednesday rejected a bid to strengthen anti-abortion provisions in the legislation — which could reach the Senate floor in the next two weeks.

so he is a liar after all. I think everyone knows this by now.

Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa offered an amendment that would have helped cut fraud in health care programs for low-income people. It would have required applicants to present a government-issued ID when applying for Medicaid or the children's health care program.

But Democrats said unscrupulous medical providers — not beneficiaries — are usually the ones responsible for fraud. They said current ID requirements for beneficiaries are strong enough. The vote was 13-10, against the amendment.

Oooops. another present idential lie exposed.

Posted by: snowbama | September 30, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

drivl has been trolling huff again.

Posted by: snowbama | September 30, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

The GOP outrage is empty. After all, neither Price nor McHenry called on their fellow Republican colleagues to apologize after making absurdly false comments about Democratic plans in the past few months on the House floor:

– “Last week Democrats released a health care bill which essentially said to America’s seniors: Drop dead.” [Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL), 7/21/09]

– “They’re going to save money by rationing care, getting you in a long line. Places like Canada, United Kingdom, and Europe. People die when they’re in line.” [Rep. Steve King (R-IA), 7/15/09]

– “The Republican plan will] make sure we bring down the cost of health care for all Americans and that ensures affordable access for all Americans and is pro-life because it will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government.” [Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), 7/28/09]

– “That’s exactly what’s going on in Canada and Great Britain today…and a lot of people are going to die.” [Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), 7/10/09]

– “One in five people have to die because they went to socialized medicine! … I would hate to think that among five women, one of ‘em is gonna die because we go to socialized care.” [Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), 7/15/09]

Posted by: drindl | September 30, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

""Look their both Aliens!"
"What are you going to do? Its a two party System you have to vote for one of us."
"Maybe I'll vote for a third party"
"Go ahead throw your vote away"

From Treehouse of Horrors 7-"Citizen Kang"
Best Simpson's episode ever!"

Post-election scene: Kang has been elected president. Everyone is in chains, breaking rocks.

Homer: "Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos!"

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | September 30, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: JakeD | September 30, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

time for the loon from Seattle to show up and post over and over how we are supposed to ignore Jake.

Please ignore him.

you must ignore him.

the rest of you, ignore him.

come on, he is so repetative. Ignore him.

all he does is post the same thing, ignore him.

I am ignoring him, will you?

I have a lot to say but I am busy ignoring Jake instead.

And so on.

Posted by: snowbama | September 30, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Best Simpson's episode ever!

Posted by: AndyR3

I like:

What did you think when checks just started coming in the mail?

Grandpa Simpson: I just thought the Democrats were back in power.

Posted by: snowbama | September 30, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

"Look their both Aliens!"
"What are you going to do? Its a two party System you have to vote for one of us."
"Maybe I'll vote for a third party"
"Go ahead throw your vote away"

From Treehouse of Horrors 7-"Citizen Kang"
Best Simpson's episode ever!

Posted by: AndyR3 | September 30, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Ohio Citizen's info about the current composition of Daggett voters is very promising for Corzine if CC has a valid point that "voters blanch at the idea of throwing their vote away on a candidate who can't win." It's bad news if they decide to just not vote. It seems a viable Democratic strategy would be to convince these disaffected Democrats to vote, not *for* Corzine, but *against* the Republican, rather than throwing away their votes.

Posted by: nodebris | September 30, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Christie is a flawed candidate and that is starting to show. This looks like it is becoming a 'devil you know' situation for Corzine. I would expect the ads to become increasingly nasty over the next few weeks, but hey thats Jersey politics for you.

Posted by: AndyR3 | September 30, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse


Dems "coming home" hardly means VOTING FOR THE INDEPENDENT Candidate!!!

Posted by: JakeD | September 30, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

the idea that such a liberal state is even close is a sign of things to come. Liberalism is in its death throes. the revelation of its policies has finally put that last nail in the coffin.

For this we can thank the rudderless and ineffectual leadership of Barry Hussain, the affirmative action candidate.

the only remaining question is will there be anything left after these clambrains get tossed out next year and in 2012?

the sacrifice of losing all three branches for two years will be worth it IF we remember the damage done by Carter and his disciple - Carter 2.

We almost forget because the last Dem was tempered by the repub takeover.

Posted by: snowbama | September 30, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

In early posts on the NJ Gov race, the Fix said Dems would come home as the election nears. That seems to be the case now. My guess is the Dem voters in NJ hold their noses & vote Corzine. Daggett underperforms his polling & Christie loses in a squeaker.

Posted by: bsimon1 | September 30, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Democrats may register their dissatisfaction with Corzine on a poll, but in the end they will vote for him rather than someone who can't win -- to keep the cheap gangster christie from taking office and looting the treasury.

Posted by: drindl | September 30, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Rather ironic that Corzine would need Daggett to become more palatable to more voters to win since Daggett, in nearly every poll, draws far more Democratic votes than Republican votes. In other words, Daggett is siphoning votes from Corzine. Many of the Daggett voters are Democrats looking for an alternative to Corzine but who are loath to vote for a Republican.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | September 30, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Who knows, maybe even Daggett will win the whole thing!!! As long as it's not Corzine : )

Posted by: JakeD | September 30, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

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