Chris Christie unpopular among Rutgers Students
It seems even in his home state of New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie is disliked especially among Rutgers students, according to the most recent Eagleton Institute of Politics poll.
Fifty-nine percent of New Jersey voters have an unfavorable opinion of him following his Nov. 13 re-election, an 11-point increase since April, according to the poll.
For Christie, it is only looking down from there.
“He is edging toward the lowest ratings recorded for any New Jersey governor over 45 years of Rutgers-Eagleton Polls,” said Ashley Koning, assistant director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at the University.
The same character traits that have helped his career take off, are causing his downfall, according to the poll.
Eighteen percent of voters say their dislike for Christie stems from his character, attitude and image, according to the poll. Ten percent feel he is untrustworthy, deceitful and a liar.
“Among the 30 percent who are favorable, 28 percent point to his honesty and straight-forwardness, 15 percent like his overall governing style and performance, and 14 percent each cite his personality and his attempts to better New Jersey,” according to the poll.
Christie reached a new low on overall job approval with 37 percent approval and on individual issues with 46 percent approval. Christie also falls to new lows on education, crime and drugs, economy and jobs, taxes, state budget and the state pension fund situation, according to the poll.
Christie’s favorability follows in the same path, reaching new lows in every demographic.
“His Republican base seems to be growing more weary, with just 61 percent of GOPers now having a favorable impression of the governor, down seven points since April,” according to the poll.
Christie is now doing worse with men than women, and there has been a decline with both white and non-white voters, Republicans and Democrats, middle-aged voters and even his strongest supporters in exurban counties, according to the poll.
Other reasons voters dislike Christie are for his handling of state workers, unions and the pension system, his governing style and apathy toward Garden State citizens, his ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishments and his policy decisions, according to the poll.
These unfavorable opinions affect Christie’s presidential candidacy. Half believe Christie is not presidential, and most others believe if he ever was, his time “came and left,” according to Koning.
Running for president with low votes back home is not impossible. But, it affects Christie particularly poorly.
“His original presidential appeal stemmed from his bipartisan efforts and leadership in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. It may not evoke confidence for voters nationwide when Christie’s own voters at home are increasingly turning against him,” Koning said.
The voters dislike and like Christie for the same reason — his “tell it like it is” campaign.
While his frankness repels most, it attracts certain voters, according to the poll.
“Rather than viewing Chris Christie as a bully, I see him more as an individual who is not afraid to speak his mind,” said Danielle Alter, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.
Alter said it would be interesting and refreshing to have a president who is not afraid to blatantly speak his mind, regardless of the implications his words might have on peoples feelings.
But the statistics prove most disagree with Alters viewpoint.
“New Jersey voters are more dissatisfied than ever, giving him his lowest favorability and job approval to date. They moreover want him to resign from his current office now that he has officially thrown his hate in the ring for 2016,” Koning said.
Rutgers students feel a lack of loyalty coming from Christie.
“There is a sense that Christie is abandoning his state by running for president. During this year alone he has spent more than half of his time outside of New Jersey,” said Ben Manahan, a School of Arts and Sciences senior.
Manahan said many now look down on Christie for the Bridgegate scandal. But, his settlement with Exxon, his security costs rising substantially during his campaign, his high cost election and his reputation as a state attorney for over-billing on travel expenses, add fuel to voters' negative opinions of him.
But Koning said that voters are more focused on Christie’s personal character traits rather than specific events. Voters' negative views of Christie have more to do with himself and his personal style more than anything, she said.
“In his heyday, Christie was the tough Jersey guy you wanted on your side, the refreshing straight-talker who ‘tells it like it is.’ But at his lowest moments, these same traits have been used against him and are painted in a much more unflattering light,” according to the poll.