Rutgers-Eagleton poll finds 35 percent of state supports Chris Christie
Only 35 percent of the state still supports Governor Chris Christie, according to the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released on Oct. 13th.
The Eagleton poll took into consideration the representative opinions of a wide variety of voters. The poll included 935 adults aged from 18 to over 65.
This low approval rating is shocking because Christie once had a positive approval rating of 70 percent at the beginning of his term.
“When we talk about a politician’s approval ratings, we need to look at the bigger picture," said Ashley Koning, the poll assistant director at the Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics.
At the beginning of the Governors term he garnered “state and even nationwide coverage because of Hurricane Sandy,” Koning said.
His ratings were more than 80 percent on approval in regards to Sandy recovery for most of 2013, the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll reported.
“As devastating as the storm was, Christie had the perfect political moment to shine and really jack up his approval rating” Koning said.
Koning believes this significant drop in Christie's approval rating has had a slow but steady decrease ever since the Bridgegate scandal last January.
Besides the 2013 Bridgegate scandal, the Rutgers-Eagleton poll reports that voters disapprove of Christie's work on a plethora of issues including the state pension approval of 21 percent, economy and jobs, 31 percent, crime and drugs 38 percent and education, 36 percent. All of his approval ratings are below 50 percent — bad news for Christie.
Ross K. Baker, professor in the Department of Political Science, said New Jersey citizens are upset with Christie because of the time he is spending on his presidential campaign.
But Christie is not the only governor running for the 2016 presidential election who is not spending time in his home state. Just take John Kasich, Governor of Ohio.
“Despite being a no-show in his own state, Kasich’s approval rating is still at 62 percent," reported www.nj1015.com.
New Jersey voters feel Christie has abandoned the state's issues in pursuit of a successful national campaign, which Baker said could factor into his low approval ratings.
When asked about Christie's chances at winning the election, Andrew Young, a Rutgers alum, said in an email interview, Christie's negative publicity throughout his last few years in office has made him unelectable.
"I think he is just trying to embellish his profile for other career opportunities," he said.
Christie is ranked 10 out of 15 candidates, according to the National GOP poll.
“You can’t know if things will change. We will be able to see where the Governor stands more clearly after the Iowa Caucus,” Koning said. “Polling is playing a really interesting part in this process, so where he stands can change very quickly.”
Not all voters feel the same as Koning.
“Governor Christie’s chances at winning are only slightly better than that of Rick Santorum,” Baker said.
Baker believes that the Governor does not have much chance and that his best bet is trying to get on another candidates ticket as vice president.
“He doesn’t want to be the bride anymore, he’ll gladly take place as the bridesmaid,” Baker said.
The Rutgers-Eagleton poll reported that six in 10 garden state voters think New Jersey is on the wrong track.
While up five points from August on his approval ratings, this is still the second lowest he has ever received, according to the Rutgers-Eagleton poll.
"We need to be careful about how we categorize these points, an increase in five points is not necessarily an upward trend,” Koning suggested.
There is still much more room for improvement when it comes to the ratings.
“Dropping out of the race would be a good first step, but it will take time to reestablish himself to the voters,” Baker said.
If he were to make progress on the top issues of the state, such as economy, jobs and taxes, Koning said Christie could gain positive approval.
"He needs to come home and get back to work and then the numbers could turn around,” Koning said.