National and state-based politicos (including some good people whom I very much respect) are making a big deal out of a new Rutgers-Eagleton poll out Monday showing Chris Christie heading into Election Day 2013 without any discernible coattails. And frankly, my dear Save Jerseyans, I share many of their doubts with only 43 days left to go.
All the same, I still think it’s a wise policy to take this latest poll’s results with a grain of salt. Or a full shaker.
Consider a few tablespoons: for starters, the poll’s director is a partisan Democrat. The poll went into the field on September 3rd, almost three weeks ago and well before Governor Christie’s latest advertising blitz hit the airwaves. I’m also instinctively skeptical of any poll which is weighted D+20. Yeah, I know New Jersey is reliably blue and Romney supporters – myself included – got egg on their faces in 2012 for disputing the accuracy of public polling samples. But 2012 isn’t 2013, and Barbara Buono’s campaign is sure as heck no OFA; for argument’s sake, Patrick Murray’s Monmouth University Poll utilizes a D+14 sample. Furthermore, the poll is a statewide survey that doesn’t focus on any one district or an aggregate of the competitive districts; naturally, the inclusion of heavily Democrat areas will skew the final result.
Most significantly, however, Rutgers Eagleton doesn’t exactly have the best track record.
In 2009, Rutgers-Eagleton’s final poll showed Jon Corzine (39%) up +3 over Chris Christie (36%) and pulling away do to a surge in support for the Independent Chris Daggett (20%). Christie won two weeks later with 48.5% of the vote to Corzine’s 44.9% and just 5.8% for Daggett.
Food for thought…