Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe Kyrillos has much in common with his Republican governor, but when it comes to polling against a Democratic incumbent in a statewide race, Kyrillos is no Chris Christie.
Trailing Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez by double-digits in recent polls, Kyrillos recently argued that Christie also was behind in the polls against Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine during their 2009 matchup.
"Public polls had, had, had Chris behind as well, and, and I know that they’re close because I’m with people each and every day," Kyrillos, a state senator, said during an Oct. 15 campaign stop with Christie.
But most of the polls leading up to the 2009 election indicated that the race was roughly even between Christie and Corzine.
Christie was leading in some polls and Corzine led in others, but those leads were typically minimal and fell within the polls’ margins of error. That’s very different from how Menendez has been outperforming Kyrillos in polls as the two prepare for the Nov. 6 election.
In a statement, Chapin Fay, Kyrillos’ campaign manager, told us: "This is silly. Fact: public polls had Christie behind. That is what Kyrillos said. Your opinion that he wasn't behind enough does not change the fact that polls had Christie behind."
Let’s break down those poll figures.
To analyze Kyrillos’ claim, PolitiFact New Jersey reviewed the results of 15 polls released between September 2009 and November 2009.
In five of those polls, Corzine held leads within the margins of error, and Christie’s leads were within the margins of error in four polls. Another poll had them tied. Christie held leads greater than the sampling errors in four polls, and Corzine had such a lead in one poll.
As the polls indicate, Christie held significant leads over Corzine in early September, but the race became much tighter in its final weeks. Chris Daggett, an independent candidate for governor, trailed Christie and Corzine by wide margins in each poll.
By mid-October, Christie’s lead had shrunk to 1 percent among likely voters, with a margin of error of 2.8 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Oct. 14.
With the same margin of error, Corzine took a five-point lead among likely voters in a Quinnipiac poll released on Oct. 28. But less than a week later, Christie was beating Corzine by 2 percent among likely voters in another Quinnipiac poll, with a sampling error of 2.5 percent.
Polls conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute also presented a close race.
A poll released on Oct. 20 had Christie and Corzine in a dead heat at 39 percent each among likely voters. In two subsequent Monmouth polls, Christie held a slight lead among likely voters in the first and Corzine had a minimal lead in the second, but both leads fell within the polls’ margins of error.
Polls conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind put Corzine ahead of Christie going into the election, but Corzine’s leads still fell within the polls’ margins of error.
For example, in PublicMind polls released on Oct. 6 and Oct. 30, Corzine held a 1-point lead over Christie among likely voters, 44 percent to 43 percent, but the margins of error were 4 percent each time.
The chart below outlines how Corzine and Christie performed among likely voters in those 15 polls. The ten polls listed in bold represent cases where the candidates’ leads were within the margins of error or they were tied.
|Poll||Release Date||Jon Corzine||Chris Christie||Difference||Margin of Error|
So, among those 15 polls, Corzine’s lead over Christie ranged from 1 percent to 5 percent -- far from the double-digit leads held by Menendez over Kyrillos.
In a Monmouth poll released on Sept. 25, 2012, 49 percent of likely voters supported Menendez, compared to 34 percent for Kyrillos. A PublicMind poll released on Sept. 20 gave Menendez a 14-point advantage over Kyrillos among likely voters, 50 percent to 36 percent.
At a recent campaign stop, Kyrillos compared his polling against Menendez to how Christie was behind Corzine in polls during the 2009 governor’s race.
But while Kyrillos has been trailing Menendez by double digits, most of the polls leading up to the 2009 election suggested a close race between Christie and Corzine. When Corzine held an advantage over Christie, his leads typically fell within the polls’ margins of error.
Since Christie was behind in some polls, we rate the statement Mostly False.
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