N.J. Residents Don’t Like Chris Christie Much Anymore

Almost 60 percent of New Jersey registered voters have an unfavorable view of Gov. Chris Christie. He once had a 70 percent favorable rating.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivers his budget at the Statehouse, Tuesday, February 16, 2016, in Trenton, N.J. Tuesday's budget address comes nearly a week after Christie ended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivers his budget at the Statehouse, Tuesday, February 16, 2016, in Trenton, N.J. Tuesday’s budget address comes nearly a week after Christie ended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

Chris Christie’s run for president has been over for more than a week. Now he’s back in the state where voters elected him governor with more than 60 percent of the vote more than two years ago. That has changed.

The Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released two surveys on Christie this week. Both show New Jersey’s registered voters increasingly dissatisfied with the governor.

“It is no coincidence that New Jersey voters give Governor Christie some of his lowest character ratings to date upon his return home,” Ashley Koning, assistant director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University, said in a release. “With the governor spending the last several months on the campaign trail, positive perceptions of him have taken a hit across the board in his absence – especially leadership, a trait that has usually been his strong suit since taking office.”

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The first poll, released Tuesday, saw Christie’s favorability rating drop to 29 percent. Fifty-nine percent of N.J. voters have an unfavorable view of the governor, with 12 percent unable to answer the question. Christie’s high-water mark was after Superstorm Sandy; he had a 70 percent favorable rating in February 2013.

But, Rutgers’ polling arm says, it’s not just Bridgegate that’s turned public opinion around on the governor. Being out of the state so much has taken its toll. “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,” Koning said.

A second poll, released yesterday by Eagleton, asked respondents to rate the governor on a number of words. For example, 41 percent of New Jersey registered voters say “reading or hearing about Governor Christie” makes them feel angry. Forty-five percent say it makes them worried. And 37 percent of respondents said it actually makes them feel contempt. Geeze.

Most of the drop in Christie’s popularity comes from a decline among registered Republicans and independents. For example, Only 52 percent of Republicans feel Christie is a “strong leader.” N.J. voters even say mean things about him. Sixty-six percent of Democrats, 54 percent of independents, and 29 percent of Republicans say “self-centered” is a very fitting description.

There is a way out, however. Presidential candidate John Kasich says he’d consider Christie for a cabinet position. Unfortunately for Christie, Kasich is a longshot. Maybe President Trump will tap Christie for attorney general.

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