Christie’s job approval and favorability ratings have dropped dramatically among New Jerseyans, with Democrats driving the decline, according to a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. Following more than a year of strong bipartisan support, Christie’s favorability rating is now 46 percent favorable to 43 percent unfavorable, down from 65 percent favorable just before his landslide re-election. This drop in support is led by a 26-point decline among Democrats.
Voters are slightly more positive about Christie’s performance as governor, with 53 percent approving how he handles the job. But this is down 15 points since November; well below the 66-to-73 percent support Christie had enjoyed throughout the year since Superstorm Sandy. Asked to grade the governor, 43 percent now award Christie an A or B – down 16 points – and 29 percent assign either a D or F, compared to just 18 percent two months ago.
Christie’s ratings drop is driven by a very large decline among Democrats while most Republicans – and many independents – continue to stand by the governor. In November, 45 percent of Democrats were favorable, but with new challenges to Christie’s bipartisan leadership, only 19 percent of Democrats are now positive. Democratic approval of Christie’s job performance has dropped from 51 percent to 29 percent. While noticeably down from November, Republicans are still very positive: 78 percent feel favorable, and 83 percent approve of the job Christie is doing. Independent support has also dropped some, but a majority continues to favor Christie.
Christie’s ratings are noticeably lower among those who travel across the George Washington Bridge at least once a week, at 37 percent favorable. Those who use the bridge less often are more positive, with 45 percent favorable, compared to 51 percent favorable among voters who never use the bridge. His job approval follows a similar pattern for these commuters.
“Other polls taken immediately after the bridge scandal broke showed relatively small effects,” noted David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers University. “But with another week of revelations, damage appears to have been done. The good will the governor built up among Democrats with his handling of the Sandy aftermath is gone, at least for now.”
Results are from a statewide poll of 826 New Jersey adults with a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.4 percentage points, contacted by live callers on both landlines and cell phones from Jan 14-19. Within this sample are 757 registered voters, with a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.6 percentage points.