A new Fairleigh Dickinson University-PublicMind poll shows Republican Gov. Chris Christie leads his Democratic opponent, State Sen. Barbara Buono, by a margin of 59 to 40 percent among likely New Jersey voters in Tuesday's gubernatorial election.

Gov. Chris Christie (Eric Thayer-Pool, Getty Images)

Christie lead Buono 58 to 25 percent in early October, but that was among registered voters, not those who say they truly plan to cast a ballot. Christie's lead is stratospheric according to Krista Jenkins, director of PublicMind and professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

"The state has not seen a gap of this magnitude in a gubernatorial race in quite some time," said Jenkins. "The 2001 race between Republican Bret Schundler and Democrat Jim McGreevey certainly comes to mind, but that was over a decade ago."

As you would expect, the Republican incumbent and the Democratic challenger both do well among their base. Buono gets the backing of 76 percent of Democrats and 94 percent of Republicans support Christie.

However, the almost one-quarter of Democrats who say they're going to vote for Christie reveals how tough it has been for Buono to connect with voters. An overwhelming majority of independent likely voters (80 percent) support Christie as compared to Buono (18 percent).

Long a champion on women's issues, Buono can't seem to get the traction she might have expected from female voters. A majority of women and men favor Christie over Buono.

"These numbers point to the fact that, at least for now, Christie's transcendent partisan appeal is accompanied by an ability to navigate the difficulties associated with the ubiquitous gender gap in American elections," said Jenkins. "In this polarized political environment, the degree of support that Christie has in a 'blue' state is something that is likely to distinguish him from other Republican leaders."

Voters not only know more about Christie than they do Buono, but they like him a lot more too. Currently, just eight percent of likely voters say they're still not sure about Christie's favorability, as compared to 23 percent for Buono. Christie gets a 62 percent favorability rating, a number that is considerably more than Buono's which stands at 39 percent.

"Of course, to some extent one would expect an incumbent governor to be more widely known and capable of eliciting an opinion as compared to a lesser known challenger. However, the fact that so many voters remain uncertain about whether to favor or disfavor Senator Buono in the final days of the election is no doubt contributing to the sizable deficit she has yet to overcome," said Jenkins. "If he wins, Christie's favorability will make him the first governor in a generation to go into his second term with such widespread appeal."

The poll of 570 likely voters in New Jersey was conducted by telephone from Oct. 24 through Oct. 30, 2013, and has a margin of error of +/-4.1 percentage points.