Governor Chris Christie's popularity in the aftermath of super-storm Sandy is off the charts and that's got to be daunting for any Democrat thinking about challenging him next year.

Governor's Office

Fairleigh Dickinson University political science professor Peter Woolley says through-the-roof poll numbers aren't the only thing Christie has going for him.

Woolley says for a Democrat mulling the idea of tossing their hat into the ring, "It's a tough time to make the announcement because all of the attention is focused on Christie. All of the attention is focused on his storm surge in the polls. It's not a good time to announce although somebody's got to get in the race."

Woolley thinks any Democratic candidate knows Christie's poll numbers will come back down to earth. The Governor acknowledged that last week too when he joked that he told his staffers to cut out the poll numbers and tape them to a wall so they can remember what a great poll looks like. Still, for Democrats the numbers are what they are right now.

"The challenge for Democrats is going to come as much from other Democrats as it will come from Christie because there are going to be a number of Democrats in the race and they're going to be vying for the same campaign support and money that the other Democrats are vying for," explains Woolley. "Christie's in the catbird seat partly because his numbers are good, but also because he's going to have nobody to compete with when he's raising money. The Democrats are going to go hat-in-hand to a lot of the same people."

In the latest statewide poll released yesterday, Christie gets a 67% approve to 21% disapprove job rating among all Garden State residents. With the all-important registered voters, his rating stands at 69% approve to 22% disapprove. In September, his job approval rating was in the mid-50s for both groups.

The 85% of Republicans who give the Governor a "thumbs up" are joined by 68% of independents and 57% of Democrats. Before to this survey, Christie had never broken the 40%-mark among Garden State Democrats. The no evidence of a gender gap which was apparent in past polls - 68% of men and 66% of women approve of the governor's job performance. Christie also gets positive ratings from a majority (52%) of public worker households - the first time this has happened during his tenure.