As Gov. Chris Christie pivots to the national stage in anticipation of a formal presidential bid, a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released Friday shows that just 37 percent of New Jersey voters still have a favorable impression of him.
The figure represents an all-time low for Christie and marks a slide of seven percentage points in just the last two months.
As for Christie's job approval rating, the poll found that it, too, has fallen in recent months as 52 percent of New Jerseyans now disapprove of the governor's performance. The number of voters who still approve of the job Christie is doing, some 42 percent, has dropped by six percentage points since December.
According to the poll, New Jerseyans are divided on why they are losing support for Christie. While 20 percent cite his personality and attitude, some 15 percent cite the George Washington Bride lane closure scandal for the dip. Another 10 percent claim it has to do with Christie focusing less on New Jersey and more on his own presidential ambitions.
“As one respondent said, ‘Christie visiting different states for the presidential race made New Jerseyans not like him,’” said poll director and Rutgers University professor David Redlawsk. “Others used words like ‘arrogance,’ ‘rudeness’ and ‘abrasive’ to explain the turnaround from his high flying post-Sandy days. And of course, all manner of mentions of Bridgegate and other scandals were offered.”
Christie also posted low marks on specific matters, including the economy, taxes and his handling of the state's pension situation.
Still, New Jersey voters remain split on Christie's overall tenure as governor. Some 38 percent say Christie has been a good governor, compared with 33 percent who feel the opposite. Another 29 percent were indifferent on the matter.
Redlawsk noted that a main reason for Christie's drop in the polls centers around independents, among whom the governor lost 16 percentage points of support from December.
“Christie’s loss of independent support undercuts his efforts to be seen as appealing across the political spectrum,” Redlawsk said. “This 16-point drop is even larger than we found in the aftermath of Bridgegate, when the decline was 14 points over two-and-a-half months.
“This would seem to be nothing but bad news as the governor ramps up his national profile. For the first time, independents look more like Democrats than they do Republicans in their assessments of Christie.”
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