Gov. Chris Christie faces his his lowest approval rating since taking office, and similar numbers reflect a belief among New Jerseyans that the state is headed in the wrong direction, according to this morning’s Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind Poll.
Taken after the governor’s budget address, the poll shows Christie upside down, with 34% approving of his job performance compared with 51% who say they disapprove, or the lowest approval and highest disapproval for the governor that PublicMind has recorded for Christie. It’s only among self-described Republicans that the governor finds himself in more favorable territory (55% approve/31% disapprove). Coveted demographic groups including independents (33% versus 47%) and women (33% versus 51%) are roundly critical of the governor. All of these numbers are consistent with recent trends documented by PublicMind, as recent as last month.
“It may be a different day, but it’s the same dismal story. The state’s problems are taking their toll on the governor’s ratings,” said Krista Jenkins, professor of political science and director of PublicMind, Fairleigh Dickinson University’s survey research center. “His budget address attempted to hit the reset button on the gaping pension hole, but did little to assuage the broad concerns of the public.”
The same survey finds that also unchanged is the percentage of voters who express concern about the state’s overall health. Only about a third (33%) believe the state’s headed in the right direction, with (52%) who believe it’s decidedly on the wrong track. As with Christie’s overall approval, only Republicans perceive confidence (45%) relative to concern (37%).
When it comes to what voters like and dislike about the governor, about equal numbers say they like both his policies and personality as dislike both elements of his leadership. Around a third (29%) say they find his policy positions and personality appealing, with close to the same number who say the exact opposite (35%). PublicMind last asked this question in October 2014, and the intervening months have failed to get the governor back to where he was before, when the appreciation for his polices and persona significantly outpaced the number of those looking with disfavor on these two attributes.
The Fairleigh Dickinson University conducted the poll of 790 registered voters in New Jersey by telephone with both landline and cell phones from February 23 through March 1. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points.