Governor Chris Christie’s public job approval rating remains above 50 percent, even though the third budget of his term hasn’t generated strong support. The latest Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll also found that Garden State residents give a big thumbs up to their governor being the keynote speaker at next month’s GOP convention.
Currently, Governor Christie earns a 52% approve to 36% disapprove job rating among all Garden State residents. Among registered voters, his rating stands at 53% approve to 35% disapprove. The governor’s positive ratings among Garden State voters have consistently ranged between 50% and 55% since last August. Christie earns a strong 82% approve to 10% disapprove rating among his fellow Republicans and a 57% to 31% rating among New Jersey independents. Democrats continue to disapprove, though, by a negative 60% to 26% margin.
Published reports last week suggested that Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for President, would offer Chris Christie the coveted keynote speaker slot at the party’s nominating convention. New Jersey voters strongly endorse giving their governor this high profile position, with 61% who say it is a good idea to just 24% who say it is a bad one. Even Garden State Democrats (49%) are more likely to see it as a good rather than bad idea, joining 62% of independents and 82% of Republicans in their endorsement of a Christie keynote.
“Governor Christie as the GOP keynote speaker is a slam dunk, at least as far as his current constituents are concerned,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Overall, 42% of New Jerseyans think that Chris Christie helps the national Republican Party’s image compared to just 14% who say he hurts the GOP brand. Another 37% say he has no impact on the party’s image. Among Garden State Republicans, 67% say Christie helps their party’s image compared to just 7% who say he hurts it.
If the governor does take the stage in Tampa, he will almost certainly talk about his success at promoting bipartisanship at home. His current constituents may have a different take on that, though. Only 31% of New Jerseyans say that Christie and Democratic leaders have been working well together. A majority (53%) say they have not. When asked who is to blame for the discord, 58% blame both sides equally, 24% lay the blame on Christie and 15% say it is the Democrats’ fault. These findings have been fairly consistent in polls going back to the first year of Christie’s term.
“The governor can certainly claim some key wins with the Democratic legislature since he took office. But he has also suffered some stinging partisan defeats recently, such as the hold-up of his tax cut plan and the unprecedented rejection of two Supreme Court nominees,” said Murray.
Regardless of the partisan bickering at home, 41% of state residents say their governor helps New Jersey’s image around the country, while 29% say he hurts it. Another 25% say he has no impact on the state’s reputation.
Governor Christie recently signed the third budget of his term. Among the 7-in-10 New Jerseyans who followed the budget process at least a little, few have strong feelings about it. Just 18% say they are satisfied with the budget and 24% are dissatisfied. The majority (53%) say they aren’t particularly satisfied, but they can live with it. These sentiments are very similar to opinion on the governor’s first budget in 2010 when it was 16% satisfied, 30% dissatisfied, and 51% could live with it.
The poll also found that 73% of residents are aware that no deal was reached on a proposed tax cut. Most of these residents (54%) place responsibility for the lack of agreement on both the governor and legislative Democrats equally. Another 22% blame the Democrats more and a similar 19% blame Christie more.
Among all residents, though, 54% say that it is better to see if enough revenues come in to support a tax cut first while 37% say it is better to pass a tax cut now. A majority of Democrats (64%) and independents (54%) prefer a wait and see approach. Republicans (53%) prefer to make the cuts now. Among those who had heard at least something about the negotiations, 51% say it is better to wait. This number is higher (64%) among residents who were not following the news about the tax cut debate. [Note: the poll question did not attach either of these positions to Christie or legislative Democrats, suggesting that knowledge of the governor’s position may serve to increase public support for an immediate cut.]
The poll also found that the state legislature’s job rating is still under water, at 35% approve to 43% disapprove. The approval number has ranged between 35% and 38% over the past year, while the disapproval number has ranged between 38% and 47%.
The Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll was conducted by telephone with 803 New Jersey adults from July 18 to 22, 2012. This sample has a margin of error of + 3.5 percent. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute and originally published by the Asbury Park Press and its sister publications (Courier-Post, Courier News, Daily Journal, Daily Record, and Home News Tribune).