Public Policy Pollling (D) became the third pollster in the last week to test a hypothetical Chris Christie (R) vs. Cory Booker (D) 2013 gubernatorial run. On the bright side for Booker, he performs much stronger against Christie in the PPP poll (only trails 50-36%), as opposed to the Rutgers (54-34%) and Quinnipiac (53-35%) poll. On the down side, Booker, a popular Democrat in a blue state, still trails the Republican incumbent by double digits.
Similar to the Rutgers and Q-poll, PPP again finds Christie performing exceptionally well with Independents AND Democrats. In fact, Booker only attracts 57% of Democrats, nearly 30% LESS than the scandal-ridden former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine (D) did against Christie in 2009. This is almost certainly due to the strong positive marks NJ residents give their Governor on his handling of Hurricane Sandy. But are those strong positive feelings likely to last until election day, 2013? As I've explored here and here, below is a table showing what the PPP poll would look like had they found Booker attracting 86% of the Democratic vote (the amount Corzine attracted in 2009):
PPP poll w/ Democratic numbers reweighted to 2009 CNN NJ Governor's Exit Poll:
Miraculously, what was a 14 point Christie edge becomes a 10 point, 50-40% Cory Booker lead. This is the case IF Booker does AT LEAST as well as Jon Corzine did w/ Democrats in 2009, AND assumes he loses Independents by a huge margin.
Here's what the PPP top line would look if Booker does as well as Corzine with Democrats AND assuming the same party ID as the 2009 Governor's race: (41D/31R/28I; D+10).
PPP poll w/ Democratic numbers & party I.D. reweighted to 2009 CNN NJ Governor's Exit Poll:
Assuming Booker does at least as well as Corzine '09 among Democrats, AND assuming the partisan make-up of the electorate is the same as 2009, Chris Christie would lead Cory Booker 46-45%. I realize I'm making a lot of assumptions (several of which arent terribly likely; such as assuming that the '13 NJ electorate will be D+10 again). But that's the point of this blog; reworking the numbers to see what could happen. And if Booker's team is watching this closely, they're probably agreeing that Christie won't be as strong with Democrats in November 2013 as he is now, with NJ residents coming off of their post-Sandy feelings of bipartisanship and cooperation. Booker's team is also probably encouraged by the large Democratic turnout advantage in NJ in the 2012 presidential election (D+18). They, too, probably agree that a Booker Gubernatorial victory in 2013 could happen. That doesn't mean that it will.
And for what it's worth, Booker remains undecided on the 2013 Governor's race, but he's at least talking tough.