When asked if New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is more of a leader than a bully, more Garden State voters say, ‘leader.’

When asked to describe Christie in one word with no choices offered, ‘bully’ comes out on top and ‘leader’ doesn’t even crack the top ten. This is just a sampling of the findings in a new Quinnipiac University poll released this morning.

By a 50-45% margin Christie is more of a leader than a bully, New Jersey voters say. That compares to a 54 – 39% vote for leader April 11. In a separate question, when the poll asked New Jersey voters for one word to describe Christie, with no choices offered, 185 voters say ‘bully.’ The next most used words are: Arrogant – 75 voters; Tough – 50 voters; Honest – 43 voters; Good – 41 voters; Aggressive – 38 voters. Leader comes in 11th with 21 votes.

Poll director Mickey carroll says, “Governor Christopher Christie’s squabble on the Seaside boardwalk – shades of Snooki! – underlined his pugnacious ‘Jersey Guy’ image with some voters, who volunteered that he’s a bully, but most of his fellow New Jerseyans call him a leader.”

Recently critics have blasted Christie for being too aggressive. First, the Governor called a reporter an ‘idiot’ for asking an off-topic question and then he got into a shouting match on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights with someone who criticized his education policies.

It’s not just the Governor. The overall tone and level of civility in New Jersey politics is mostly negative, voters say 65 – 27%, but 60% say that tone is about the same as the level in Washington, while 23% say Trenton is better and 12% say worse.

There’s good news for Christie in the poll. New Jersey voters approve 54 – 39% of the job the Governor is doing, unchanged from Quinnipiac University’s May 16 survey.

Voters give the State Legislature bad grades, disapproving 45 – 31% of the job the General Assembly is doing; disapproving 45 – 34% of the job the State Senate is doing, and disapproving 53 – 27 of the way the State Legislature is handling the state budget.

Democrats control both houses of the legislature, but the news isn’t all bad for them either. Christie says he’ll fight the Democrats all summer long because they won’t give him the guarantee of a tax cut. Democrats put aside $183 million in the budget to enact a tax cut in January if revenues match Christie’s projections.

More New Jersey voters agree with Democrats that it’s better to wait for a tax cut: 49% side with legislative Democrats, who want to delay voting on a tax cut until they see if state revenues are strong enough to support the cut. 43% join Christie in wanting the tax vote right away.

Carroll says, “Governor Christie’s special legislative session provided some early-summer noise, but the result is more voters side with the Democrats wait-and-see position instead of Christie’s demand for a vote on tax relief now.”

By a 53 – 40% margin, Jerseyans think that Christie would be a bad choice as the vice presidential candidate on Governor Mitt Romney’s Republican ticket. Republicans say 54 – 40% he would be a good choice for running mate, but Democrats say bad choice 64 – 30%, with independent voters agreeing 53 – 42%.

“Politicians still gossip about the idea, but New Jerseyans think Christie would be a bad choice for VP,” explains Carroll. “The Gov’s job approval number holds comfortably above 50 percent and voters like him and his policies.”

From July 9 – 15, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,623 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points. Live interviewers called land lines and cell phones.