Why are Democrats abandoning their party's gubernatorial candidate, Sen. Barbara Buono?

Michael Loccisano, Getty Images

With three weeks to go until New Jersey decides, over 50 Democratic officials across the state have formally endorsed Gov. Chris Christie in his bid for re-election. Recent polls also show a significant number of Democrat voters say they'll cast their ballot for the Republican governor next month.

Rank-and-file Democrats who plan to vote for Christie on Nov. 5, says Quinnipiac University poll director Mickey Carroll, are probably going to do that because they actually like him, his policies, or both. Carroll thinks fear and pragmatism might be factors for the Democratic officials who are publicly backing Christie.

"The Democrats in New Jersey are practical people," says Carroll. "They can read the numbers, and the numbers say Christie wins in a walk. If I'm a Democratic official, why get him sore? I'll have to deal with him for four more years."

Speculation has been swirling for years that Christie wants to run for president in 2016. Even if that means Democrats won't have to deal with him for a full term, they will have to work with him for at least a couple of years.

You're supposed to support your own party, says Carroll, and as a result, many dyed-in-the-wool Democrats might feel irritated at fellow party members who've backed Christie. However, Carroll also says, every politician will tell you the first rule of survival is that you have to be in office to get things done.

To get things done in New Jersey, politicians have to work with Christie.