TRENTON, N.J., Feb. 25 (UPI) -- The once untouchably popular governor of New Jersey has found himself falling -- and fast.
A new poll finds Chris Christie's approval ratings at home plummeting, down 20 percent from last year, even as he got a warm reception at the National Governors Association meeting this week.
Nearly half of all residents -- 44 percent -- say they disapprove of the job the second-term governor is doing, up from 17 percent last February and 25 percent from just two months ago, the Monmouth University-Ashbury Park Press poll found.
In the same one-year period, his approval has fallen from 70 percent down to 50.
"Christie's image as the hero of Sandy is now just a fading memory," Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said.
The governor, a rare case of a Republican with a record of success in a Democratic state, has seen his fortunes fall since revelations that his staffers ran punitive campaigns against his political opponents. Christie has denied any knowledge of his aide's actions.
Once considered a strong frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, Christie has fallen significantly in polls of potential candidates, and went from running neck-and-neck in a hypothetical matchup with Hillary Clinton to double-digit deficits. But even if the Republican Governors Association chairman's stature has diminished in the public's eye, his fellow Republican governors paid that no mind at the NGA meetings this week.
"The reality is Chris has taken responsibility, he has said he will cooperate with all the investigations," said Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. "I don't know what more we can ask him to do beyond that."
Christie attended the NGA and RGA meetings over the weekend but skipped the White House events Sunday and Monday.