If there was any question that the GOP is worried that independent Christopher Daggett could be a spoiler in Republican Chris Christie’s bid to unseat New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D), the Republican Governors Association confirmed it by running a radio ad targeting Daggett in New Jersey on Wednesday. The ad seeks to sully Daggett by tying him to Corzine on taxes. “So what about Chris Daggett?” the narrator says. “The Daggett plan sounds like the Corzine plan, but worse. Toll increases, massive sales tax increases. Independent sources confirm, Daggett actually wants to tax you for getting your hair cut, your dry cleaning, you name it.” “Newspapers say Daggett’s property tax plan is pretty much the same plan that Corzine cooked up,” the narrator adds. “And that was a disaster.” The ad goes on to direct people to the RGA’s website for the race, JerseyPays.com. On Tuesday, Politics wrote that the New Jersey Star-Ledger’s Sunday endorsement of Daggett has some wondering whether he will be a spoiler in the race. More polling on Wednesday confirms that he may take a sizable percentage of the vote. A Public Policy Poll puts Daggett at 13 percent and appears to confirm that his support comes from voters that would otherwise by Christie.
Daggett seems to be drawing from the independent and Republican ranks to a greater extent than he was a month ago. In September Christie was earning 79% of the GOP vote to Daggett’s 7%. Christie’s dropped six points in his own party to 73% and Daggett’s had a commensurate gain to 13%. Among independents what was a 48-16 lead for Christie compared to Daggett four weeks ago is now 42-19. Corzine’s support is flat with both Republicans and independents but the shifts between Christie and Daggett have had the effect of bringing him closer overall.
It is worth noting that Daggett’s numbers have varied in other polls, but not by much. The Public Policy poll also suggests, though, that Daggett’s support may not be solid. Just 44 percent of Daggett supporters in the survey said they are firmly committed to voting for Daggett – a very low number compared to Christie and Corzine’s backers. If those respondents jump ship in the voting booth, it would appear to hand the election to Christie because right now polling shows the race to be essentially tied. Jeremy P. Jacobs is the staff writer at Politics. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org