After consecutive months of falling job approval ratings, support for Gov. Chris Christie has seen a slight bump since last week's internal report into the George Washington Bridge scandal was released, according to a new Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll released Wednesday.
According to the poll, 51 percent of residents currently approve of the job Christie is doing, compared to 41 percent who disapprove. The margin is tighter among registered voters at 51 percent approving to 43 percent disapproving.
The new numbers are slightly better than last month, when the same poll found that 50 percent of residents and 49 percent of registered voters approved of the job Christie was doing, compared to 49 percent of residents and 46 percent of registered voters who didn't.
However, Christie's approval rating is still significantly lower than it was in December, prior to the widening of the bridge scandal.
But the modest increase doesn't seem to be stemming from the internal report that exonerated the governor, the poll found. Some 52 percent believe the report was done to help Christie's reputation rather than serve as a fair and unbiased investigation into the lane closures. Just 30 percent disagreed.
"The bleeding has stopped for now," poll director Patrick Murray said. "The poll was conducted after the Mastro report was released, but this does not seem to be the reason why Christie's ratings have stabilized. In fact, few New Jerseyans agree with the report's conclusions."
Christie's approval ratings are slightly lower among the 54 percent of residents that reported hearing about the internal report, coming in at 47 percent approving to 46 percent disapproving. The governor's marks are higher among those who have not heard about the report, with 56 percent approving and 34 percent disapproving.
Furthermore, just 32 percent of residents said they believe Christie has been completely honest about his knowledge of the incident, compared with 61 percent who believe otherwise.
"Considering the governor does worse among those who know about the Mastro investigation, it's possible we could see a negative impact on Christie's rating as more New Jerseyans become aware of the report's contents," Murray said.
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