The Washington Times - November 4, 2013, 07:25AM

A new poll says New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie enjoys a 20-point lead over his Democratic challenger on the eve of the gubernatorial election, another sign the high-profile Republican is set to cruise to re-election.

The Monmouth University Poll says 57 percent of likely voters support Mr. Christie compared to 37 percent for state Sen. Barbara Buono.


His margin is down from a 24-point lead he held in a poll three week ago, but consistent with the 20-point margins he has held in Monmouth polls since August.

“A key issue in the final margin of victory will be turnout coming on the heels of a special election for U.S. Senate just three weeks ago,” the pollsters said, referring to former Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s victory over Republican challenger Steve Lonegan. “Republican-leaning voters appear to be more likely to come out for this election than they were on October 16.”

Mr. Christie has garnered wide praise for his efforts to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy in October 2012, and he enjoys a super-sized lead in the Garden State’s shore counties, the poll found.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday says Mr. Christie’s lead is actually as big as 28 points, at 61 percent to 33 percent, meaning a recent campaign jaunt was more of a celebration than a plea for votes.

“That weekend bus ride around the Garden State must have felt like a victory tour for Gov. Christopher Christie,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday on MSNBC that while Mr. Christie is assured of victory, the “real big lift” for him, politically, will be convincing conservative GOP voters he is their man in 2016 — should he run for president.