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By David Madden

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — The final poll of New Jersey voters before tomorrow’s special election for the US Senate seat previously held by the late Frank Lautenberg shows Democrat Cory Booker with a comfortable 14-point lead over Republican Steve Lonegan.

The race tilts 54-40 percent in favor of Booker in the Quinnipiac University survey of almost 1,700 likely voters.

Poll director Mickey Carroll says in this poll independents, the group that usually turns the tide, are evenly split. And he suggests this election could be decided along racial lines.

“Lonegan, by a smidgen, leads among white voters, whereas Booker just owns the black vote,” by a 93-to-1 margin, Carroll notes.

And that’s not just because Booker is an African-American.  Blacks have been a loyal Democratic base group for decades.

Lonegan does have one advantage, though: his voters are committed to his cause.  And given the unusual timing of this special election (see related story), turnout could prove to be a major factor.

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