Poll: NJ primary now in play; Clinton’s lead falls to six points


Hillary Clinton’s lead over Barack Obama in New Jersey has narrowed to 44%-38%, according to a private poll commissioned by one of the state’s most powerful Democratic leaders, George Norcross. The poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner on January 30-31, was distributed to some Norcross allies earlier this morning and obtained by PolitickerNJ.com.

Click here to view Stanley Greenberg's polling memo.

A Quinnipiac University poll released on January 23 had Clinton with a 17-point lead, 49%-32%. John Edwards was at 10% and Dennis Kucinich at 1%; both candidates have since dropped out of the race. In that survey, 25% of Clinton voters had indicated that they were very or somewhat likely to change their mind. In December, Clinton’s lead in New Jersey was 51%-17%.

The poll shows that likely primary voters view both candidates favorably – Obama at 64%-17%, and Clinton at 66%-19%.

"Edwards supporters are more open to Obama than Clinton in New Jersey. Among voters initially supporting Edwards, 26 percent shift their support to Obama, while only 12 percent shift to Clinton (34 percent of Edwards’ supporters say they will continue to support Edwards although he is no longer in the race and 28 percent remain undecided)," the poll memo said. "And among the 25 percent of voters who have no preference or indicate that they would vote for a candidate who is no longer campaigning, just 14 percent say there is “no chance” they would vote for Obama in the primary election. Among this same group, more than one-fifth (21 percent) say that there is 'no chance' they would support Clinton."

Clinton leads by just 4% in the New York media market, 43%-39%. In the Philadelphia media market, Clinton leads 47%-36%.

Obama has a 2-1 lead among African American voters, and "has closed the gap with a coalition of broad support among men and younger voters."

Clinton and Obama both campaigned in New Jersey last month, and Bill Clinton was in Camden earlier this week.

Norcross has not personally endorsed any candidate, although he has key allies in both camps Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts and Rep. Rob Andrews are backing Clinton, and State Sen. John Adler is with Obama.

"I don't think what he's doing tonight, the method by which he's doing it helps to build a trustful relationship."
—Gov. Chris Christie reacting to President Barack Obama's speech on immigration reform.