Pro-Abortion Gubernatorial Candidates Behind in Virginia, New Jersey Races

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 27, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Abortion Gubernatorial Candidates Behind in Virginia, New Jersey Races

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 27
, 2009

Richmond, VA ( — Candidates who favor abortion are losing in both of the marquee gubernatorial races taking place this November. In Virginia, pro-life Republican candidate Bob McDonnel is leading and Chris Christie has the advantage in New Jersey, according to new Rasmussen polls.

The latest Rasmussen telephone survey of Virginia voters finds McDonnell leading pro-abortion state legislator Creigh Deeds 47% to 38% with three percent backing another candidate and 12 percent undecided.

These figures reflect an improvement for McDonnell as a Rasmussen poll from one month ago showed the pro-life state attorney general with a three percentage point lead. Since then, he has gained three percentage points of support while Deeds has lost three percentage points.

When “leaners” are included, those voters who say they are undecided but are pressed further to select one candidate or the other, McDonnell leads 49% to 41%.

The Rasmussen poll shows 53 percent of Virginia voters have a favorable view of McDonnell, up three points over the past month. Deeds, who is hoping to be the state’s third Democratic governor in a row, is seen favorably by 48%, down a point from a month ago.

Deeds has been aggressively attacking McDonnell on abortion but the new survey finds that voters give the pro-life candidate a 12-point edge in terms of trust on the abortion issue.

Meanwhile, in this year’s other big election contest, Republican challenger Chris Christie has a double-digit lead over incumbent pro-abortion Democrat Jon Corzine in the New Jersey governor’s race.

Christie continues to lead Corzine, who has forced taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research, but his lead is slipping a bit.

A new Rasmussen poll finds Christie, a former federal prosecutor, on top 47% to 36%. Those figures reflect a decline of three points for Christie and a single point for Corzine over the past three weeks.

Seven percent of New Jersey voters now prefer another candidate while eleven percent are undecided on the race.

Corzine, who left the U.S. Senate to run for governor, draws even closer when leaners are included. With the leaners, 50% will vote for Christie and 42% for Corzine. That eight-point edge for Christie is down from 13 points in early August and 12 points in early July.

Rasmussen says the "trend of those leaners is particularly interesting."

"In July, the leaners were moving in Christie’s direction and worked to expand his lead. In early August, the leaners were evenly divided and had no impact on the gap between the candidates. Now, the leaners are moving in Corzine’s direction and are reducing Christie’s lead," the pollster explained.

Early in any campaign, the number without leaners is generally more significant. Later in a campaign, the numbers with leaners matter more. After Labor Day, Rasmussen Reports will report the number with leaners as the primary indicator of the campaign.

While Christie has led in every poll of the race, no Republican has won statewide office in New Jersey since 1997. Democratic candidates often close strong in the fall, and Corzine, who is seeking a second term, is expected to significantly outspend his challenger during the closing months of the campaign.

Still, the poll shows Corzine’s approval numbers still in the tank.

Just 35% approve of Corzine’s performance as governor, down two points from earlier in August and down five points from July. Sixty-five percent (65%) disapprove. Those figures include 14% who Strongly Approve and 41% who Strongly Disapprove.

The only good news for the governor in the favorability data is that Christie’s numbers are slipping, too. Just 48% have a favorable opinion of Christie. That’s down just a point from earlier in August but down nine from July.

Even more dramatic is the increase in the number with an unfavorable opinion of the GOP challenger. That figure is up to 51%, the first time Christie’s negatives have outnumbered his positives. In July, just 36% had an unfavorable opinion of the candidate.

Still, feelings about Corzine are stronger. Thirty-six percent (36%) have a Very Unfavorable opinion of the governor while just 19% say the same about the challenger. The number with Very Favorable opinions of both men is small: 13% for Corzine and 11% for Christie.

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