Christie’s approval rating dips to 40%

This morning’s Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll shows Gov. Chris Christie with a 40% favorable rating and 45% unfavorable, a reversal from 47% favorable and 41% unfavorable in April; while a third of voters (32%) say the governor is doing a “poor” job, up five points from April.

The governor’s approval rate is down, with 44% approving and 44% disapproving, a drop from a 51%-41% approval rating in April, and the worst the governor has measured in his term.

Moreover, 55% say the state is “on the wrong track,” up from 47% in April.  Just 36% say the state is headed in the right direction, a decrease of 8 percentage points from April.

“May may be good for flowers, but it’s not so good for the governor,” said Peter Woolley, a political scientist and director of the poll. “May is budget tensions in Trenton, budget battles in towns and budget disappointments in school districts.”

A majority (54%) still say the state should cut programs rather than raise taxes, but that number too is down significantly – 10 points from April’s measure of 64%.  Just one-quarter (25%) say taxes should be raised, unchanged from April, but those who are unsure, or have a mixed opinion or other ideas of how to deal with the state budget shot up to 22% from 11%.

Woolley said the swing in mood from April to May is pronounced among female voters, who are significantly more likely than men to say the state is on the wrong track (61% of women compared to 49% of men), that Christie is doing a “poor” job (38% compared to 27%), and to disapprove of the job Christie is doing as governor (53% compared to 36% of men). In fact, men’s and women’s ratings of Christie are mirror opposites: men approve by 52%-36% and women disapprove by 53%-36%.

“There is often a gender gap in voters’ attitudes,” said Woolley, “but this is a dramatic contrast.

“Given a generic choice of which party should control the state Assembly and Senate after November’s elections, voters swing to Democrats by a margin of 42% to 32%, a 10-point advantage, twice the margin measured in April,” he added.

The Fairleigh Dickinson University conducted the poll by telephone, contacting 804 voters with both landline and cell phones from May 16 through May 22, 2011. The poll has a margin of error of +/-3.5 percentage points. Christie’s approval rating dips to 40%