Published November 01, 2009
President Obama tried to rally support for New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine Sunday, making a return visit to the Garden State in a bid to prevent Republicans from sweeping the major state and local elections Tuesday.
The president scheduled stops in two Democratic strongholds. He spoke at a "get out the vote" rally in Camden, before addressing another rally in Newark later in the day.
In Camden, the president called on supporters to show the same kind of dedication to bringing people out for Corzine Tuesday as they showed with his candidacy one year ago.
"You need to work hard on Tuesday," Obama told the crowd in Camden. "I need you to go back into your neighborhood. I'm going to need you to knock on doors. ... I'm going to need you to do the same thing you did last year."
With Corzine's office just one of two governors' offices on the ballot for Tuesday's elections, the White House is aware Democratic losses would be spun as a referendum on Obama.
In the Virginia governor's race, polls show Republican Bob McDonnell leading Democrat Creigh Deeds by double digits. Obama campaigned for Deeds last week, but does not plan to return.
And in New York's 23rd Congressional District, Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava dropped out over the weekend after Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman attracted the endorsements of a slew of high-profile Republicans. The exit could be a bad sign for Democrat Bill Owens, since many of Scozzafava's supporters are likely to back Hoffman.
The results of Tuesday's elections could also foreshadow next year's elections, when 37 governorships come up for grabs.
Meanwhile, another new poll finds Corzine and Republican challenger Chris Christie running nearly even in the race.
The Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll released Sunday finds Christie backed by 43 percent of likely voters, while the incumbent Democrat is supported by 42 percent.
In the last Monmouth/Gannett poll issued two weeks ago, they were tied at 39 percent.
Independent Chris Daggett was backed by 8 percent of likely voters in the latest poll, down from 14 percent.
"This election will be defined by turnout like few others before it," poll director Patrick Murray said.
The telephone poll of 1,041 likely voters was taken Oct. 28-20 and has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.