A new Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll released Monday shows that in the past 12 months, Gov. Chris Christie's job approval rating among New Jersey residents has fallen by 20 percentage points from a high of 70 percent to 50 percent, where it sits currently.
Among registered voters in New Jersey, Christie's approval rating is down to 49 percent compared to 46 percent disapproving of the job he's doing, the poll found.
The poll numbers reflect a nine-percentage point decline in job approval rating over the past month for Christie and an overall drop of 15 percentage points since the George Washington Bridge scandal erupted.
"This hole is getting deeper," poll director Patrick Murray said. "Christie's image as the hero of Sandy is now just a fading memory."
On Bridgegate, the poll found that the percentage of New Jerseyans who believe Christie has not been entirely honest about the lane closures has increased, up to 61 percent currently from 51 percent in January.
But the scandal has also taken its toll on the public's opinion of the Legislature and its investigation into the matter, the poll found. Some 56 percent of residents say the investigatory committee is more interested in going after Christie than uncovering the truth. Additionally, the Legislature's collective job approval rating in the past month has fallen from 47 percent to 41 percent with disapproval jumping from 35 percent to 45 percent.
Separate from Bridgegate, another 49 percent reported that they are more inclined to believe rather than doubt Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer's claims that members of the Christie administration threatened to withhold Sandy aid from her city if she did not approve a private development project with ties to the governor's office. Only 40 percent of residents said they were more likely to doubt Zimmer's allegations, the poll found.
Though support has eroded since September by roughly 21 percentage points, the majority of residents, some 55 percent, say they are still relatively satisfied with the state's Sandy recovery efforts thus far. Another 57 percent reported that they are "somewhat confident" that federal Sandy aid is being spent properly, the poll found.
"While the governor's Sandy grades have taken a big hit, New Jerseyans believe that federal funds are generally being used well," Murray said. "However, that opinion combines both the federal efforts and the state efforts in many people's minds. These views may shift based on how the second wave of funding is used."
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