A new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released Wednesday shows that after two weeks of dealing with the George Washington Bridge scandal, Gov. Chris Christie has seen his support among New Jersey residents fall drastically and split along party lines.
Down from 65 percent just prior to Christie's re-election, only 46 percent of New Jerseyans now hold favorable opinions of the governor, according to the poll. Another 43 percent reported having an unfavorable view of Christie.
Though 53 percent approved of the job Christie is doing as governor, that number represents a 15 percentage point drop since November.
Democrats contribute to the bulk of Christie's decline, the poll found. Though 45 percent of Democrats supported Christie in November, only 18 percent reported having a favorable opinion of him now. Christie's job approval among Democrats has also tanked from 51 percent in November to 29 percent.
Christie's support among state Republicans however is still high, the poll found. Some 78 percent are favorable of Christie and another 83 percent give him high marks on his performance as governor.
According to the poll, the majority of the polling data was gathered before the recent allegations made by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer that members of the Christie administration withheld Superstorm Sandy relief aid in return for support on a development project.
"Other polls taken immediately after the bridge scandal broke showed relatively small effects," poll director David Redlawsk said. "But with another week of revelations, damage appears to have been done. The good will the Governor built up among Democrats with his handling of the Sandy aftermath is gone, at least for now."
The poll also found that among those who frequently use the George Washington Bridge, only 37 percent are favorable of Christie. The governor's favorability climbs with those who use it occasionally, 45 percent, and with those who never use it, 51 percent.
Redlawsk added that despite making gains among Democrats with his performance during Sandy, the scandal has returned the state to highly partisan, "pre-Sandy political environment."
"Before the storm, Governor Christie's term was defined by sharp splits, with Democrats generally negative and Republicans very positive," Redlawsk said. "Once Christie proved his leadership after Sandy, partisan differences became quite small right through the election in November. But Democrats are once again very unhappy with the Governor."
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