What’s the TRUE state of the 2017 GOP gubernatorial primary race?
He didn’t spill the numbers, Save Jerseyans, but in a pre-debate memorandum shared with state media, veteran Christie and Trump pollster Adam Geller claimed that his current client, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, is leading her N.J. GOP gubernatorial rivals by a 2-to-1 margin.
How? “In the open-ended responses, the number one issue that GOP primary voters associate with Kim Guadagno is ‘tax relief/lower taxes.’ The number one issue that these same voters associate with [Jack] Ciattarelli is ‘Don’t Know/Not Familiar with him,'” Geller reported.
The news contradicts insider reports that both camps consider the race to be tightening considerably, a narrative seemingly buoyed by the Guadagno camp’s decision to unleash a number of direct negative attack ads aimed at Ciattarelli after months of strictly-positive messaging.
Quinnipiac’s early May poll found Ciattarelli trailing by 11-points.
Geller’s full memorandum is shared below for your consideration:
TO: INTERESTED PARTIES
FROM: ADAM GELLER, NATIONAL RESEARCH INC.
RE: THE STATE OF THE GUBERNATORIAL PRIMARY
DATE: MAY 18, 2017
|The State of the Race
With less than three weeks left until the Republican Primary, Kim Guadagno remains strongly positioned to receive the GOP nomination. She has had stronger fundraising, more cash on hand, more county endorsements, and stronger poll numbers according to our latest campaign survey.
Some poll highlights:
- Kim leads Jack Ciattarelli by a two to one margin in the multi candidate ballot as well as the head to head to ballot.
- Polling indicates Kim is on a strong winning path. She has a four to one favorable to unfavorable ratio, and her favorability numbers have actually improved despite months of false, ineffective negative campaigning by the Ciattarelli campaign. Simply put, her message is resonating with Republican primary voters and Jack Ciattarelli’s is not.
- This is not surprising because…..
- In the open-ended responses, the number one issue that GOP primary voters associate with Kim Guadagno is “tax relief/lower taxes.” The number one issue that these same voters associate with Ciattarelli is “Don’t Know/Not Familiar with him.”
- Kim’s campaign ads yield higher recall than Jack’s, and more people are motivated to vote for Kim after viewing her ads. With a better candidate and a better message, undecided voters will flow primarily to Kim.
- Kim holds a commanding lead among those that said they heard about or watched the first debate at Stockton University.
The Bottom Line
Five weeks after our previous memo, all of Kim’s initial advantages remain in place. Her poll numbers, her fundraising, and her county endorsements all give her a strong advantage 20 days out. The next 20 days are likely to be filled with lies, exaggerations and attacks from the Ciaterelli campaign as the clock continues to tick and their desperation grows with each passing minute.