Poll: Chris Christie maintains lead in NJ governor's race

Opponent Barbara Buono suffers from lack of name recognition

Published: 3:30 PM EDT Apr 15, 2013   Updated: 2:39 PM EDT Apr 12, 2013
Chris Christie at news conference

Gov. Chris Christie continues to maintain a strong lead in his bid for re-election, but the woman who wants to defeat him in November is gaining some ground in a new poll.

A Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released Friday shows Christie holds a 30-point lead among registered voters surveyed. That's down from 42-points in a Rutgers-Eagleton survey conducted in February.

The new poll shows Christie's support has dropped six points while Democrat Barbara Buono gained six points.

"While Christie maintains a large lead, some tightening is all but inevitable, since we expect most Democrats to vote the party line in November," said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers University. "But unless Buono can make gains among independents and also get Democrats energized, she is going to have a long road ahead."

Buono continues to suffer from lack of name recognition, and 61 percent of her supporters expect the state senator to lose.

"Until voters know more about her, it is unlikely that Buono will make much more progress," said Redlawsk. "While some will vote against Christie no matter who his opponent is, challengers generally need to develop good name recognition to unseat an incumbent."

The survey shows Christie has a 65 to 16 percent lead among independent voters.

Voters said taxes and jobs are the most important problems facing New Jersey.

The survey of 819 registered voters has a sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.