Gubernatorial polls show Forrester cutting into Corzine's lead

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:58

    NEWARK (AP) n Republican Doug Forrester continues to cut into Democrat Jon Corzine’s lead in the race for governor, according to a new poll published Sunday. The latest Star-Ledger/Eagleton-Rutgers poll has Forrester only seven percentage points behind Corzine among likely voters, according to The Sunday Star-Ledger of Newark. Poll director Murray Edelman said media attention that had been focused on Hurricane Katrina and hurting many Republicans, was now shifting toward the race and that helped Forrester. According to Edelman, Forrester has also caught up to Corzine in spending on television ads. The latest poll has Corzine with 44 percent of likely voters, versus 37 percent for Forrester. Eighteen percent were undecided. The numbers are a big change from last month, when Corzine led 49 percent to Forrester’s 31 percent. Much of the increased support for Forrester came from independent voters, who make up a third of New Jersey’s electorate. Support among independents for Forrester grew from 26 percent to 37 percent in the past month, while Corzine’s support dropped from 44 percent to 41 percent. Forrester is also getting stronger support from his base, with 65 percent of his backers saying they are ``very sure’’ they will vote from him, a six percent increase from September. Corzine, meanwhile, saw ``very sure’’ support fall from 66 percent to 62 percent. The Forrester campaign thinks the improving numbers are a sign that the Republican is tapping into a growing opposition to the Democratic status quo in state government, according to spokeswoman Sherry Sylvester. ``It’s corruption. It’s property taxes. It’s New Jersey voters clearly recognizing that Doug Forrester means change for New Jersey,’’ she said in The Sunday Star-Ledger of Newark. Corzine’s campaign, meanwhile, insists that its own internal polling shows the millionaire U.S. senator holding onto a double-digit lead. ``We expect that day-to-day and week-to-week these numbers will continue to change with the size and texture of our ad campaign,’’ Corzine spokeswoman Ivette Mendez told The Sunday Star-Ledger of Newark. The poll shows that voters are about evenly split over which candidate is the best to handle high property taxes, one of the race’s top issues. But Edelman cautioned that nearly half of the likely voters polled haven’t heard of either candidate’s plans. And two-thirds of those who have aren’t sure how the candidates plan to pay for them. Corzine wants to boost the state’s rebate program, which provides relief for homeowners, by 40 percent over four years, while Forrester wants to cut property taxes by 30 percent over three years. The Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University conducted the poll Oct 3-6. The institute surveyed 638 likely voters, and the poll has a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.