03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

New Jersey's Next Governor Is Unknowable

The word 'if' is in high use among in-the-know New Jersey politicos these days. Ask who they think will win the governor's race on Tuesday, and you'll hear a lot of: 'Well, Christie wins if....' or 'Corzine's got it in the bag if....' Not a lot of confident voices.

The miraculous resurrection of Governor Jon Corzine in the crucial month of October has had a lot of people thinking the Democrat is running away with the thing. Not so. And a spate of polls favorable to Republican Chris Christie have caused some to even their keels once again.

Still, observers return to this caveat: the last few cycles have shown the Democratic candidate poll several points below his election day tally. The Democrats' superior turnout operation has crushed the Republicans, making them look silly for even thinking they could win these races. So, if it's neck-and-neck, give the tie-breaker to Corzine.

That sounds sensible -- I even made that argument myself a few weeks ago. Yet on further reflection, we are talking about Jon Corzine, who hemorrhaged popularity with the voting public a year and a half ago and never gained it back. If any Democrat could be the exception to his party's election day surges, it's him.

There's a big enough pool of undecideds, as well as no guarantee that the third party candidate holds onto his support. This could be a nail-biter or it could be a blowout. But be wary of anyone who says this race was a given, one way or the other.

(By the way, did you notice that when President Obama is visiting the state on Sunday, the Republicans are sending Joe 'You Lie' Wilson?)