Poll: Christie’s Approval Numbers Stabilize [POLL/AUDIO]
Governor Chris Christie’s job approvals are leveling off as the public’s interest in the Bridgegate scandal wanes, but more New Jerseyans than not believe the state is headed in the wrong direction according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll released Tuesday.
“The governor’s job approval is holding steady,” said Krista Jenkins, PublicMind poll director and political science professor at FDU. “Although he’s not back to where he was pre-Bridgegate our new survey finds that 44 percent approve of his job performance and the same number disapproves.”
While Christie’s approval numbers have dropped 17 points since 2013, they are statistically unchanged from where they were in a PublicMind survey in March.
“I’m sure he’d rather be in the sixties than in the forties, but not having a further decline in public approval is good news for Gov. Christie,” Jenkins explained. “Add to this the decline in interest in Bridgegate and it looks like the approaching summer may bring with it greater warmth for Gov. Christie than he had hoped.”
In January, just after the scandal broke about the unannounced access lane closures in Fort Lee to the George Washington Bridge, 38 percent said they were following the news very closely. In this survey that number has dropped 16 points.
“For the first time in over two years we find that right direction, wrong track numbers are upside down,” Jenkins said. “Right now, 40 percent believe the state is headed in the right direction with 48 percent who believe it’s on the wrong track. The last time more were pessimistic than optimistic was in January of 2012.”
New Jersey voters are still dubious when it comes to Christie’s role in Bridgegate. Just under six in 10 said it was unlikely that Christie was unaware of the lane closures on the GWB before emails and text messages were publicaly released. In January, 53 percent felt that way.
The public is also losing faith in the legislature’s ability to probe Bridgegate. In March, 32 percent thought the legislature was doing a “good” or excellent” job investigating the scandal. Now that number stands at 24 percent.
The latest survey also revealed that Christie is falling somewhat out of favor with Independents, Democrats and public employee households.
“At least for now, he can no longer claim the widespread bipartisan appeal that made his national appeal unique relative to other prospective candidates for the White House in 2016,” Jenkins said.