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Chris Christie Riding High With Jersey Voters [AUDIO]

Governor Chris Christie’s job approval rating among registered voters is now tied with his all-time high and his disapproval rating is one point shy of his all-time low.

Governor Chris Christie
Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen

Today’s Monmouth University-Asbury Park Press poll is largely positive for the Garden State’s chief executive. Jerseyans aren’t even bothered by his in-your-face style.

Christie earns a 53% approve to 35% disapprove job rating among all Garden State residents. Among registered voters, his rating stands at 55% approve to 36% disapprove. The Governor continues to make news for his “YouTube moments” which some critics point to as proof he’s a bully. New Jerseyans, though, aren’t that concerned by his conduct. 63% say they are not bothered personally by the Governor’s style of speaking to or about people who disagree with him. Only 1-in-3 Garden State residents are bothered either a lot (23%) or a little (11%) by the way Christie deals with his detractors.

“Critics and media pundits might object to Governor Christie’s confrontational style, but the vast majority of his constituents simply shrug their shoulders,” says Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “It’s not a big deal to them.”

While most New Jerseyans (51%) say that a change in Christie’s style would not have affected the amount he has accomplished so far, 28% feel that he could have accomplished more if he acted differently compared to just 11% who say he would have accomplished less. Overall, 31% of New Jerseyans say the Governor can point to some major accomplishments. This number is up from 24% who said the same in August 2011. 43% say he has minor accomplishments. Just 21% say he has no real accomplishments, which is down from 34% just over one year ago.

Christie’s job rating doesn’t seem to be affected by recent news about the state’s credit outlook and unemployment rate. 54% say they have no impact on their confidence in Christie’s policies, while 17% are less confident and 6% are more confident in the Governor. Another 21% say they are not aware of recent news reports on these matters.

Looking ahead to the 2013 gubernatorial election, 50% of registered Garden State voters are willing to say that Christie deserves another term. 45% feel that it might be time to have someone new in office. Among registered voters who call themselves politically independent, 51% endorse another Christie term to 41% who want new blood.

The poll also asked Garden State voters their thoughts on a field of nine possible Democratic challengers to Christie. Only two have sufficient name recognition to garner an evaluation from more than a third of the electorate. Newark Mayor Cory Booker is the most well-known, earning a rating of 49% favorable to 13% unfavorable. Former Governor and current State Senator Dick Codey, earns a healthy 34% favorable to 14% unfavorable.

Another potential challenger to Christie is current Senate President Steve Sweeney who gets a 19% favorable to 16% unfavorable rating. Congressman Frank Pallone is familiar to 1-in-4 voters, at 17% favorable to 8% unfavorable. Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, while generally not considered to be mulling a run, earns a 14% favorable to 10% unfavorable.

“The first step in challenging an incumbent in New Jersey is to attain adequate name recognition,” explains Murray. “Right now, only Booker, Codey, and perhaps Sweeney have reached that threshold.”

Other potential Democratic contenders are less well-known, including State Senator Barbara Buono (11% favorable to 7% unfavorable), Assemblyman Lou Greenwald (7% to 7%), Assemblyman John Wisniewski (8% to 5%), and Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage (6% to 4%).

The poll was conducted by telephone with 805 New Jersey adults from September 19 to 23, 2012. This sample has a margin of error of + 3.5 percent.

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