A majority of New Jersey voters approve of Governor Chris Christie’s performance as governor, according to the latest Quinnipiac University telephone poll.
Matt Friedman, who covers Christie regularly for The Star-Ledger (Newark) Statehouse Bureau, has the figures. In a survey of 1190 registered voters, 51 percent, a clear majority, said they liked the way that Christie is doing his job, while 36 percent said that they did not. Two months ago, voters had been split down the middle between those who loved him and those who hated him; today’s poll indicates a significant improvement. Perhaps more significantly, the proportion of undecided people declined from 17 percent to 13 percent. Furthermore, New Jersey voters are more likely to see Christie as a leader rather than a bully, though they are split on whether he is “confrontational,” as Tom Moran called him.
(Christie famously told Moran that if he, Moran, thought Christie “confrontational,” then he should meet him when he was genuinely angry. He later suggested, “Maybe we can go back to the last administration, and I could say it in a way that you wouldn’t understand it.”)
Friedman and Jeremy P. Jacobs of National Journal also reported this interesting comparison: President Obama’s approval-disapproval ratings stood at 47-47 with 6 percent undecided in the same poll.
An examination of the source material reveals, as expected, that Democrats disapprove of Christie, while Republicans approve of him. Tellingly, Christie draws high marks from unaffiliated voters, who routinely decide State-wide elections in New Jersey.
Christie’s political opponents in the legislature have reason to worry. The State Senate, the State Assembly, and Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney rate more disapproval than approval; Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver’s numbers are split.
Not every conservative is satisfied with Christie. Paul Mulshine criticizes Christie frequently in his column, as does Steve Lonegan, Christie’s old primary opponent and the head of Americans for Prosperity/New Jersey. Mulshine’s latest criticism is for Christie’s choosing to “warn” Republicans not to criticize the City of New York and its landmark and zoning boards for their approval of the construction of the “Ground Zero Mosque” two blocks away from the World Trade Center.
Columnist Rob Errera of The Record (Hackensack) predicted that Christie would have only one term, because he “seems to have upset everyone.” The “everyone” that Errera was talking about included public employees at all levels, from the lowliest janitor to the highest-paid school superintendent or chief of police, none of whom have been immune to Christie’s criticisms and initiatives aimed at reducing public-employee pay and benefits. Why Errera would seem to believe that public-sector employees would be the only category of voters who would hold the deciding vote is not clear.
What is clear is that Christie does not intend to “seek an escape hatch,” another criticism Christie made of his predecessors and of other politicians.
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