Poll: Obama would win head to head match up over Christie

President Obama scored a hat trick over Gov. Chris Christie today as a poll released this morning shows the president besting the governor in job approval, likeability and in a head-to-head match-up for president.

According to the poll released by Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, voters preferred the president over Christie in a prospective presidential race 52 to 39.

The poll shows Christie’s job approval rating has slipped to a narrow 47 to 46 approve versus disapprove, down from a 52 to 40 rating in February.  The president’s job approval stands at 51 to 45.  As for likeability, only 38 percent of respondents say they like the fiery governor and most of his policies while 34 percent dislike him and his policies. Only 8 percent like him as a person but dislike his policies.

The president fares better among New Jersey voters with 46 percent saying they like Obama and his policies and just 20 percent saying they dislike both the president and his policies.

“Forget the White House for now, Gov. Christopher Christie says, and New Jerseyans pretty much agree with him as they back President Barack Obama by a hefty margin,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “Voters don’t believe Gov. Christie 60 – 33 percent when he says he can beat President Obama.  They do believe Christie 53 – 41 percent when he says he’s not running,” Carroll added.

Christie’s job approval rating does come out ahead of other prominent officials in the state, including U.S. Sen Frank Lautenberg who scored a 44 to 42 percent approval rating and U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, whose approval rating came in at 42 to 40 percent.  Both of those ratings are a statistical tie.

Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney, a potential challenger to Christie in the next gubernatorial election, has some work to do on his ratings as voters disapprove of the job Sweeney is doing by a 31 to 26 margin, with 43 percent undecided. 

Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver did marginally better with a 22 to 21 approval rating, but 57 percent of voters are undecided about the speaker.

Voters disapprove 53 – 26 percent of the job the Assembly is doing and disapprove 55 – 30 percent of the State Senate, the highest disapproval ratings ever for both bodies.

“New Jerseyans don’t know – and don’t much approve of – their Legislature and its leaders,” Carroll said.  “Sen. Robert Menendez has started cranking up for his 2012 re-election campaign and it’s not too soon.   His job approval is a low split.”

The governor’s PR folks may want to soften up the tough talking former prosecutor before the next election as “bully” was the word chosen most often by voters asked to describe Christie in one word. They were given no suggestions.  “Arrogant” and “good” came in tied for second with 41 voters mentioning each.

Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,532 registered voters between April 12 and 18, with a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points.  Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

Poll: Obama would win head to head match up over Christie