Nearly Half Of New Jersey Latinos Back Gov. Chris Christie For Second Term

Republicans everywhere, take note – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie could win re-election in November with significant support from Democrats, Latinos and African-Americans, according to a new poll.

The outspoken Republican governor, seen as a potential presidential candidate someday, leads his Democrat opponent, state Sen. Barbara Buono, 58 to 30 percent among all likely voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

Latinos, notably, were virtually split in the poll, with 41 percent saying they would vote for Christie, and 43 percent giving the nod to Buono.

No other racial or ethnic group identified in the poll, in fact, came close to Latinos as far as being split over whom they prefer for governor.

White voters favor Christie 66 to 25 percent, blacks favor Buono 54 to 30 percent.

Republicans would vote for Christie 91 to 4 percent, and Democrats would go mostly for Buono, 57 to 30 percent.

"The big election is still the race between Gov. Christopher Christie and State Sen. Barbara Buono and the governor's 2-1 lead remains undented after months of polling," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Sen. Buono is down 3-1 among independent voters and even loses 30 percent of Democratic voters to Christie. There's no point even counting Republicans."

Christie’s robust support among Latinos is noteworthy, given the fact that Buono named as her running mate a Latina, labor leader Milly Silva, who long has championed the rights of workers.

Christie’s popularity among many Latinos has not been hurt, evidently, despite some moves by the governor over the years that some of the state’s most prominent Latino leaders have criticized.

Some of the more notorious moves by Christie were large cuts in programs that Latino leaders say adversely affect Latinos, and his choice of Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who as sheriff before assuming her statewide position implemented the controversial 287G immigration enforcement program in her county.

Christie recently launched the “Hispanics for Christie” coalition for his gubernatorial re-election campaign.

The group has dozens of appointed members, including 13 pastors who form part of its Hispanic Clergy Advisory Council. The coalition will have representatives in all 21 counties and will be headquartered in Paterson, the state's third-largest city, where Latinos form a majority.

New Jersey is home to 1.6 million Hispanics, they are almost 20 percent of the state population, the eighth largest Latino share in the nation. About 680,000 of the state’s Latinos are eligible to vote.

The poll surveyed 2,042 New Jersey voters.