While the rest of the political world is focused on the 20 days from now until Election Day, New Jerseyans are looking forward to 2013, and a new poll released early Wednesday suggests that popular Newark Mayor Cory Booker would pose a substantial threat to Gov. Chris Christie's reelection prospects.
The Quinnipiac University poll of registered voters in the Garden State shows the outspoken Republican incumbent with a slim, apparent lead over Booker, 46 percent to 42 percent. That is slightly tighter than six weeks ago, when Christie led Booker by 7 points, 47 percent to 40 percent.
For his part, Booker has been vague about his intentions next fall, though there aren't many other doors open to him. If he doesn't set his sights on Trenton, he could potentially run for Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg's seat in 2014 if the octogenarian declined to seek another term.
Booker's competitiveness against the well-regarded Christie is driven by his popularity and the Democratic lean of the state. A solid majority of voters, 56 percent, approve of the job Christie is doing, while just 38 percent disapprove. And a 52-percent majority think Christie deserves to be reelected, while just 2-in-5 voters don't. Christie holds wider leads against other Democrats, including state Sen. Richard Codey, who has occasionally served as the state's governor on an interim basis.
The poll was conducted Oct. 10-14, surveying 1,405 registered voters. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 2.6 percentage points.