With four days to go until the election, New Jersey governor Chris Christie leads his re-election race against state Sen. Barbara Buono by 19 points, according to the latest poll released Friday morning.
Christie leads state senator Buono 59 percent to 40 percent among likely voters, according to the statewide survey conducted by Farleigh Dickinson University’s Public Mind. The election will be held Tuesday.
Buono’s numbers have ticked up significantly since early October, when the same poll found her trailing Christie 58 to 25 percent.
Christie is currently on a week-long, 90-stop bus tour hitting all 21 New Jersey counties before the election. The incumbent raised $12.9 million to Buono’s $2.1 million, according to an October 7 filing. Christie had spent only $4.9 million as of that date.
Christie’s campaign, a statewide goodwill tour that even boasts the endorsement of Shaquille O’Neal, has been successful enough to vault the governor into prime contention for front-runner status for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, GOP insiders told the Wall Street Journal Thursday.
“This is a model for the party in general,” said Christie’s campaign chairman Bill Palatucci.
“A lot of people don’t know who I am,” Buono complained in a radio interview Thursday, carping that Christie’s decision to hold the Cory Booker-Steven Lonegan special Senate election in October, weeks before the gubernatorial election, hurt her chances and “did the public a disservice.”
But Buono’s struggles began long before attention shifted to Booker-Lonegan.
President Obama only met with Buono briefly in a group of 30 state and local officials when he spoke in Asbury Park in May. Obama was visiting the state to post-Sandy wreckage with Christie, while the Buono campaign bashfully noted that the Democrat “had the opportunity to speak with President Obama.”
“There was a photo line but no separate meeting,” according to a contemporaneous pool report.