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Cory Booker Hits Slump, but Still Strong

Newark Mayor Cory Booker
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

As one of those easily wooed reporters who met and liked Cory Booker early (in 2006), I'm glad to see him sweat a little for this win. But he's only sweating a little. In the Times, Michael Barbaro quotes Monmouth's pollster saying Booker should be winning by no less than 20 points. In the RCP average of polls, he's leading by 18. In Monmouth, Booker's gone from a 16-point lead in June to a 16-point lead in August to a 13-point lead in October.

At this rate, Republican candidate Steve Lonegan will overtake Booker at some point in 2015. The election is next Wednesday.

Has Booker's lead fallen? Yes. Most coverage of the Booker slump has been proved by a link to the Quinnipiac poll, which showed his lead slipping from the mid-20s to 12 points. That same poll has shown Gov. Chris Christie increasing his lead from the mid-20s to 32 points over poor state Sen. Barbara Buono. It obscured the fact that most polls also show Christie slipping while still winning. In Monmouth, for example, Christie's gone from 42 points up (February) to 30 points up (June) to 19 points up (September).* There is no coverage of a shambling, stumbling Christie campaign, because the partisan model is reasserting itself, and he's doing what was always likely—winning a massive victory that falls short of the 70-30 landslide Tom Kean won in 1985, when the state was less Democratic generally.

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