Governor Chris Christie continues to ride high in public approval, putting up his best numbers since March of 2009, just weeks after he took office. According to the most recent statewide survey by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind™, 54% of New Jersey voters approve of the job Christie is doing, while 34% disapprove, and 12% are mixed or not sure. Moreover, half of voters (50%) rate the job he has been doing as “good” or “excellent.”
“His numbers are noteworthy at a time when national Republican candidates have been sharply critical of each other,” said Peter Woolley, director of the poll.
Men approve of Christie’s performance by a hearty two-to-one margin, (62-27). Women are not quite as enthusiastic, but give the guv a six point edge (46-40). Democrats are more likely to disapprove (52%) than approve (30%) but independents and Republicans are all thumbs up (60-27 and 85-9). The only group, other than Democrats, that are not happy are public employee households. They disapprove of the governor’s performance by a five to four edge (39-50), while other households approve by a two-to-one margin (59-28).
Still, voters also think things in the state are getting better: 51% say the state is “headed in the right direction,” while 39% say it’s “on the wrong track.”
Woolley observed “this is the first time in 10 years of measurements that more than half of New Jersey voters say things are headed in the right direction.” The measurements span four governors: Jim McGreevey, Richard Codey, Jon Corzine and Christie.
“We’re a tough crowd in Jersey,” said Woolley. “We’re not naturally sunny. So if we think things are on the right track, it’s not Snooki’s impending wedding that’s doing it for us.”
Voters split their views of the proposed 10% income tax cut: 44% say the state should proceed with the cut “even if spending for many programs is reduced.” But 42% say the state should not cut income taxes and “should fully fund state programs.” Republicans and independents endorse the tax cut (63-27 and 52-31 respectively). Democrats prefer fully funding state programs, and forgoing the cut (55-30).
“I expect that when the budget battles heat up with the coming of spring, the governor’s numbers will take a hit,” said Woolley. “That has been the pattern in the first two years of his tenure. But right now, he’s riding high.”
The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of 800 registered voters statewide was conducted by telephone with both landline and cell phones from March 5 through March 11, 2012, and has a margin of error of +/-3.5 percentage points.