Independent Voters, Turnout Key to Tight New Jersey Governor Race

Last-minute shifts from independent candidate Chris Daggett could spell success for Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine in the New Jersey governor's race Tuesday. But Republican Chris Christie may still rely on turnout among undecided voters to pull an upset in what has been the closest race of the 2009 off-year election.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday found Christie with a 2-point lead over Corzine. Among likely voters, 42 percent backed Christie and 40 percent backed Corzine.

But independent Chris Daggett is still holding on to 12 percent of the vote, according to the poll, and the race's outcome rests on votes from his supporters as well as from undecided constituents.

Watch Fox News Channel and for election results from New Jersey, where polls close at 8 p.m. EST on Tuesday night. 

The survey found that 38 percent of Daggett's supporters said they might change their mind on Election Day. Of the 38 percent thinking about changing their vote, 39 percent said they would back Corzine and 29 percent said they would support Christie.

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Christie's 2-point lead is within the margin of error, but marks a gain from a Quinnipiac survey released last week, in which Corzine enjoyed a 5-point lead.

The poll of 1,533 likely voters in New Jersey was taken between Tuesday and Sunday. It had a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.

In a last-minute bid to win over voters, Corzine sought to link his opponent with Republican Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, who was formally rebuked by the House for shouting "You lie!" during President Obama's September address to a joint session of Congress.

Corzine told supporters at rallies in Camden and Newark on Sunday that Christie was campaigning with Wilson.

"My opponent campaigning with Joe Wilson -- that's the South Carolina extremist who interrupted the president -- said no to job creation," Corzine said at the Newark rally. "Today I stand with Obama, and he's standing with him."

Christie denied the claim, telling Fox News, "There was no campaigning with Joe Wilson."

Corzine has relied heavily upon Obama for a boost to his candidacy. The president stumped for the governor in two Democratic strongholds on Sunday, and 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.

Christie, however, has remained positive, and denied claims by Corzine that he has failed to offer specific solutions. Christie says it's Corzine's record that should be the biggest concern for voters.

"Jon Corzine stood in front of the people of New Jersey and made a bunch of promises and he put his hand over his heart and said, 'Citizens of New Jersey, hold me accountable,'" Christie said. "Well, November 3rd is accountability day, let's pick him up and throw him out!"

Political analyst Larry Sabato of the Center for Politics in the University of Virginia said a Corzine loss would be a big hit for the administration.

"If Corzine loses, that, of course, is a major problem for the White House because they've picked the New Jersey's governor's race as the one President Obama can affect," Sabato said.

The White House disagreed.

"I don't think that these elections will portend a lot for what happens in 2010 any more than the 2001 elections seem to denote relative electoral legislative strength for President Bush in 2002," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.

Along with the Daggett wild card, the candidates have acknowledged another challenge to turnout on Tuesday -- game five of the World Series, which pits the Philadelphia Phillies against the New York Yankees. New Jersey fans root for both teams depending on which side of the state one's from, and analysts predict that a late-night World Series showdown on Monday could mean voters sleeping in rather than heading to the polls on Tuesday morning.

FOX News' Shannon Bream contributed to this report.