Following a failed presidential campaign bid that had him spending more time out of state than in state, just 29 percent of New Jersey registered voters have a favorable opinion of Gov. Chris Christie – his lowest point to date, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.
While favorable ratings have declined over the past two months, Christie’s unfavorable rating holds steady at its all-time high of 59 percent. A solid majority of New Jersey voters have consistently had an unfavorable impression of the governor in every poll since August 2015.
Christie’s overall job approval likewise remains at its all-time low of 33 percent; 61 percent disapprove, also virtually unchanged since December.
“After six months on the campaign trail and a year of being mostly out of state, Governor Christie is not being welcomed by New Jerseyans with open arms – in fact, quite the opposite,” said Ashley Koning, assistant director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University. “Even during the most contentious moments of his governorship – his polarizing first years in office or in Bridegate’s immediate aftermath – the governor’s numbers never reached the consistent lows we saw throughout his run for president and see now upon his return.”
Christie’s favorability is down among partisans of all stripes. Just 12 percent of Democrats and 25 percent of independents have a favorable opinion of him. While a majority of Republicans are still in his corner, even they have grown more negative – now at 63 percent favorable to 25 percent unfavorable.
His overall job approval shows similar patterns. While 19 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of independents approve of his job performance, GOP support has declined seven points, with 62 percent of Republicans approving of his job performance and 30 percent disapproving.
Ratings do not differ significantly based on whether respondents were interviewed before or after either the New Hampshire Primary last Tuesday or Christie’s official announcement that he would end his campaign last Wednesday.
Christie garners slightly better ratings among voters who are male, white, not living in a public union household, and those living in exurban and shore counties. But even among those groups, he does not receive a favorable or approving majority.
“Going into a budget address with such low ratings does not bode well for Christie’s agenda,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling. “There seems little reason for the Democrats who control the Legislature to warmly embrace a governor voters feel so cool about.”
Results are from a statewide poll of 889 adults contacted by live callers on both landlines and cell phones from Feb. 6 to Feb. 15, 2016, including 758 registered voters reported on in this release. The registered voter sample has a margin of error of +/-3.9 percentage points. Interviews were done in English and, when requested, Spanish.