Poll: Christie's approval still high

April 10, 2013 at 2:18 PM
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NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., April 10 (UPI) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's response to Superstorm Sandy continues to boost his popularity, a poll released Wednesday indicated.

The survey by Rutgers University's Eagleton Institute found that other issues, especially the economy and taxes, have led to some slippage, but the numbers suggest Christie is likely to win a second term in November.

"Christie still has ratings any governor would love, but all-time highs generally come back toward earth over time," said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers University. "With Sandy recovery helping drive overall approval and voters all but ecstatic at his efforts there, Christie remains in great political shape."

Christie, a possible contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, angered some conservatives across the country by literally embracing President Obama during a visit to the Jersey Shore a few days after Sandy and a few days before the 2012 election. The poll, however, shows that 87 percent of New Jersey residents approve of the governor's handling of the storm.

While 64 percent of voters had a favorable view of Christie, 26 percent had an unfavorable one, a share that has increased by 5 percentage points since February. Most of the governor's slippage is with Democrats, with the share viewing him favorably down 14 points.

Approval of Christie's job performance has dipped 5 points to 68 percent and is down 11 points among Democrats to 51 percent. Three-quarters of independents and 93 percent of Republicans still give the governor high marks.

"This decline among Democrats is not surprising as we enter an election season," Redlawsk said. "As long as independents are strongly on Christie's side he will continue to draw very positive ratings. If they move away, things could get interesting."

Almost half the respondents, 49 percent, said they disapprove of Christie's performance on the economy and jobs, while 42 percent approve. Taxes are another weak link, with 56 percent saying they disapprove of Christie's tax policy and only 37 percent approve.

Christie's numbers have slipped on education with 49 percent saying they approve of his policy, down 5 points, and 44 percent disapproving, up 5 points.

The telephone poll was conducted between April 3 and Sunday. Pollsters surveyed 923 adult New Jersey residents, including 819 registered voters. The overall margin of error was 3.2 percentage points for the entire sample and 3.7 points among registered voters.

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