In their own words, New Jersey residents were disgusted, angry, outraged, appalled, upset, frustrated, disappointed — and not surprised — at Gov. Chris Christie after his beach escapade during a government shutdown.
Two-thirds of residents gave varying apoplectic reactions when asked by the Monmouth University poll about the Star-Ledger’s pictures showing Christie and his family at a state-owned beach closed off to the public during the recent shutdown.
A full 6 percent volunteered profanities or the word “jerk.”
“This is New Jerseyans telling it like it is, but the governor has said that he basically doesn’t care what they think,” said Patrick Murray, the Monmouth University poll director. “This just confirms what most of his constituents have suspected for the past three years.”
Christie was set to guest host again on the sports talk radio station WFAN on Monday in what the station’s managers have called an audition for a possible post-gubernatorial gig.
The Monmouth poll found Christie with a 15 percent approval rating, matching a different poll released earlier this year by Quinnipiac University.
There was little solace for Christie in the new Monmouth poll: 55 percent of residents said the state is worse off because of his governorship; 28 percent said things were about the same; 79 percent said they believed Christie had put his political career ahead of the state’s needs; and only 30 percent of Republicans had a positive view of their governor.
When asked about the reason for the government shutdown — a bill Christie wanted to overhaul the state’s largest health insurer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield — more than half of state residents said the bill seemed like a political hit job on the insurance company and not a real effort at reform.
President Trump, an unpopular figure in New Jersey, managed to get a higher approval rating than Christie (35 percent). So did U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, a Democrat who has been indicted on corruption charges (41 percent).
“It really is difficult to drive approval ratings into the single digits barring something like a criminal conviction,” Murray said. “However, you have to admire Christie’s seeming tenacity for trying to get his numbers down to that level.”
When asked who was to blame for the government shutdown, 54 percent pointed the finger at both Christie and the Democratic-controlled state Legislature, while 28 percent blamed Christie alone.
Meanwhile, the Legislature does not get much better ratings than Christie, at 23 percent.
Monmouth University polled 800 adults after the shutdown, from July 6 to July 9, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.