Corzine Struggling, Obama to the Rescue?

A Quinnipiac University poll out this week suggests Republican challenger Chris Christie is pulling away from incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine in the New Jersey Governor's race. Christie leads Corzine 53-41 - up from a 10 point lead in last month's survey. 

New Jersey political analysts say Corzine has a serious problem with his base. "Governor Corzine is in serious trouble in New Jersey at this point. He has about one-third of democrats defecting from him," Cliff Zukin, Director of the Public Policy program at Rutgers University told Fox.

President Obama is heading to the Garden State for a Corzine rally at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel. And there are signs Mr. Obama will need to, in effect, stop the bleeding for the Corzine campaign. The Quinnipiac poll reveals 60-percent of registered NJ voters disapprove of the job Corzine is doing - his lowest rating ever. 

Corzine recently signed a $29 billion budget that increased taxes and cut tax rebates, and New Jersey political insiders say that has many voters wanting to vote for change this fall. Zukin says Corzine has "had to make lot of unpopular choices, and he's never really been a governor who's connected that well with the public."

"He's really gone through four years and people have said they wouldn't want to have another four years. In this case, people ask themselves... Do I want four more years of that? The answer is no," Zukin told Fox.

While Mr. Obama is popular in the Garden State with a 60-percent approval rating, recent surveys suggest his popularity may have little impact on the Governor's race. 

A Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll just released today indicates 76-percent of New Jersey voters say their vote in the Governor's race will be based solely on state and local issues.

And 70-percent in the Monmouth University poll say having Mr. Obama actively campaign for Jon Corzine would have no impact on their vote in this race. 

The way the Obama rally has been handled has also left New Jersey political analysts scratching their heads. The event was originally scheduled to take place at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, and 52,000 people signed up online to attend. The event was moved to the 18,000-seat PNC Arts Center, and now the Corzine campaign is  promising left out supporters there will be other opportunities to "partake in an event with the president, the first lady and others in the Obama administration and the governor as we move forward." 

President Obama is scheduled to address the rally at 4:25pm. Mr. Obama is also doing an afternoon fundraiser for Corzine before the rally. After his stops in New Jersey, Mr. Obama will cross the Hudson River to speak at the 100th NAACP Convention Dinner in New York City.

Mike Emanuel currently serves as chief congressional correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC). He joined FNC in 1997 as a Los Angeles-based correspondent.