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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.
To comment on this ruling, go to NJ.com.
NJToday, Kryillos Looks to Close Friend Christie for Campaign Boost, Oct. 15, 2012
The Star-Ledger, Gov. Christie campaigns for Kyrillos in West Windsor, Oct. 15, 2012
Audio recording of interview with state Sen. Joe Kyrillos and Gov. Chris Christie, Oct. 15, 2012
The Star-Ledger, Poll: Menendez leads Kyrillos by 14 points among those likely to vote, Sept. 20, 2012
Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind Poll, Menendez’s Commanding Lead Hides Some Discontent, Sept. 20, 2012
Philadelphia Inquirer, Menendez widens lead over Kyrillos, poll shows, Oct. 12, 2012
Monmouth University Polling Institute, Obama, Menendez Leads Widen in New Jersey, Sept. 25, 2012
The Star-Ledger, TRAIL MIX Notes and quotes from New Jersey's campaign trail, Oct. 7, 2009
The Star-Ledger, TRAIL MIX: Weinberg, Guadagno square off in lieutenant governor debate, Oct. 8, 2009
The Star-Ledger, Campaigns unleash barrage of attacks, Oct. 15, 2009
The Star-Ledger, Gubernatorial candidates reinforce issues during televised forum, Oct. 7, 2009
The Star-Ledger, Christie sticks to campaign strategy, Oct. 6, 2009
The Star-Ledger, As debate beckons, Corzine closes gap, Oct. 1, 2009
Quinnipiac University, New Jersey Gov Race Tips To Christie By 2 Points, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Daggett Voters Key As Race Is Too Close To Call, Nov. 2, 2009
Quinnipiac University, Corzine Up 5 Points In New Jersey Gov Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Governor Tops Christie On 'Honesty' Score, Oct. 28, 2009
Quinnipiac University, Christie's Lead Is Ultra-Thin In New Jersey Gov Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Daggett At 14%, But 77% Say He Can't Win, Oct. 14, 2009
Quinnipiac University, Corzine Creeps Up On Christie In New Jersey Gov Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters Favor Property Tax Cap 8-1, Sept. 30, 2009
Quinnipiac University, Corzine Losing Battle Of Attack Ads In New Jersey, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Democrat Trails Christie By 10 Points, Sept. 1, 2009
Monmouth University Polling Institute, NJ Governor's Race Shifts but Stays Tight, Nov. 2, 2009
Monmouth University Polling Institute, NJ Governor: It's Anyone's Game, Nov. 1, 2009
Monmouth University Polling Institute, Garden State Race is All Tied Up, Oct. 20, 2009
Monmouth University Polling Institute, Corzine Nipping at Christie's Heels, Oct. 1, 2009
Monmouth University Polling Institute, Christie Continues to Lead, but Depends on Who Votes, Sept. 13, 2009
Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind Poll, New Jersey’s Blue Voters, Nov. 2, 2009
Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind Poll, Tight N.J. Governor’s Race in Final Days, Oct. 30, 2009
Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind Poll, Corzine Gains Among Obama Supporters, Oct. 9, 2009
Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind Poll, Corzine Catches Up, Oct. 6, 2009
Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind Poll, Christie Leads Corzine 47%-42%, Sept. 1, 2009
Rutgers University Eagleton Institute of Politics, Corzine May Be Opening Some Space; Daggett Gaining Though Still Well Behind, Oct. 22, 2009
E-mail interview with Meaghan Cronin, spokeswoman for state Sen. Joe Kyrillos, Oct. 16-17, 2012
National Council on Public Polls, 20 Questions A Journalist Should Ask About Poll Results, accessed Oct. 23, 2012
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