Governor Chris Christie’s job approval and favorability ratings hit a new low in a FDU Public Mind Poll released this morning.
Only 21% of New Jersey’s registered voters approved on the governor’s job performance and only 29% of those voters have a favorable opinion of him, according to the poll. A majority of Republicans, 52%, disapprove of Christie’s performance. 90% of Democrats and 68% of Independents also disapprove.
“Apparently we’ve not yet found the floor for the governor’s approval among voters in the state. The recent gas tax increase that the governor supported no doubt caused some in his party to turn against him, even though he sought to reduce taxes in other areas in order to offset the increase at the pump,” said Krista Jenkins, professor of political science and director of PublicMind.
71% said New Jersey is headed in the wrong direction.
“Concern about the state’s health is both broad and deep. Republicans and Democrats alike think things have taken a turn for the worse,” said Jenkins.
The Bridgegate trial of former Christie staffers for orchestrating the September 2013 shut down of the George Washington Bridge has also been a drag on Christie’s numbers. 70% says they are following the trial closely.
Thirty-seven percent believe it is highly unlikely that the governor did not know what his aides were doing either before or during the lane closure episode. Virtually the same percentage reported being dubious in 2014, shortly after the story broke.
Additionally, 52 percent believe there is sufficient proof that Governor Christie knew about and did nothing to prevent the lane closures from occurring or stop them from continuing. A third (36%) believe sufficient proof does not exist. The only group whose majority sentiment gives the benefit of the doubt to the governor are Republicans. Across the board, registered voters are more apt to believe the claims of the defendants and prosecutors in the trial than the governor.
“The Bridgegate trial and its fallout is clearly hurting the governor. With both sides arguing that the governor was aware of the political retaliation plan, voters are having a hard time coming up with reasons to believe his claims of innocence,” said Jenkins.
However, the same survey finds a glimmer of hope for Governor Christie. A clear majority (57%) reject the idea that Christie should leave office, either by stepping down or through removal by impeachment. Only 39 percent believe he should leave office. These numbers are reversed from when a similar question was asked earlier this year in May. Back then, 57 percent said that if it is proven that Christie knew about and did nothing to stop or prevent the lane closures from occurring, he should resign. A third (35%) rejected such an idea.
“Invoking the word ‘impeachment’ raises his early departure to a different level. Although removal by impeachment has been discussed recently in the press, it’s clear from these numbers that the public is not ready to go there, despite growing concerns about the veracity of the governor’s claims regarding his role in the lane closure affair,” said Jenkins.