NJ Gov. John Corzine (photo by PittCaleb)

NJ Gov. John Corzine (photo by PittCaleb)

The new polls in the New Jersey Governor’s race have good news for Chris Christie and Jon Corzine, depending on which one you read.

Christie 42, Corzine 40, Daggett 12

Survey USA:
Christie 45, Corzine 42, Daggett 10

Corzine 43, Christie 41, Daggett 8

Democracy Corps:
Corzine 41, Christie 37, Daggett 15

Every one of those polls are within the margin of error, so the outcome is genuinely unclear and will hinge on a variety of factors:

LATE UNDECIDEDS: Democracy Corps found 8% undecideds in their poll, meaning that getting them out for either Christie or Corzine could easily tip the balance. In general, undecideds are thought to break against an incumbent.

TURNOUT: Time and again in New Jersey statewide races, a Republican looks strong right up until the end, when the Democratic turnout machine swamps the ballot boxes and leads the Democrat to victory. It’s unclear whether history will repeat itself here, but I don’t think it’s up for debate that Democrats turn out voters better in New Jersey than Republicans. The intensity of support, however, falls on the Republican side, by some indications.

THE DAGGETT FACTOR: Will supporters of the third-party candidate abandon him on Election Day, or will they hold firm? If they shift, pollsters believe they would be more likely to move to Corzine. “Daggett is the key to an incredibly close New Jersey election,” said Quinnipiac.

POLLING, HALLOWEEN AND THE WORLD SERIES: There’s substantial reason to suspect the reliability of the late data in the race, more of which shows a slight Christie surge than the opposite. These polls were all in the field during Halloween night and two games of the World Series, which featured Philadelphia and New York. Both teams interest New Jersey voters in the respective suburbs. SurveyUSA said that results in their poll “should be interpreted cautiously.”

VOTE BY MAIL: Every pollster agrees that Corzine has banked a certain amount of votes, more than Christie. Monmouth set it at 53-31 for Corzine. Those mail-in votes could be coming in throughout the week, needing only to be postmarked by Election Day. Given how tight the race is now, those late mail-in votes could decide the outcome.

THE OBAMA EFFECT: Obama’s barnstorming across the state Sunday in support of Corzine may impact the vote to a slight degree, say pollsters.

FDL News will have full coverage on Election Day tomorrow.

UPDATE: Nate Silver does a very detailed analysis of the remaining factors and puts Christie as a 4:3 favorite to win.

UPDATE II: A final poll from Fairleigh Dickinson: Corzine 43, Christie 41, Daggett 8.

David Dayen

David Dayen