Rutgers-Eagleton: Six in ten New Jerseyans say state is on wrong track

Insiders in the Christie administration report a steady exodus that has left the governor with no one of substantial gravitas to stand up to him. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Insiders in the Christie administration report a steady exodus that has left the governor with no one of substantial gravitas to stand up to him. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) Getty Images

In his attempt to slip the surly bonds of Jersey with a presidential run, Gov. Chris Christie continues to nosedive into the swamp of statewide public opinion, according to this morning’s Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. Fifty-four percent of New Jersey registered voters disapprove of the overall job Christie is doing as governor, while 41 percent approve – his highest job disapproval to date.

On Superstorm Sandy recovery, Christie’s job approval has dropped below 50 percent for the first time:  48 percent now approve, down 7 points from February and far below his April 2013 peak of 87 percent. Forty-four percent currently disapprove his work on Sandy recovery, the very narrative that catapulted him to national prominence in 2012.

Approval ratings for Christie on issues other than Sandy recovery also fail to impress. Christie reaches new depths on taxes (26 percent approve, 65 disapprove) and the state budget (28 percent approve, 61 disapprove), and maintains his low water mark of 31 percent approval on the economy and jobs.

According to the poll, Christie’s overall favorability rating stands at 48 percent unfavorable, somewhat improved from his 53 percent unfavorable rating in February. The 38 percent who are favorable is essentially unchanged from February’s 37 percent favorable.

Negativity toward Christie himself parallels voters’ assessments of the direction of the state itself. Sixty percent of voters say the Garden State is on the wrong track, the highest number since just before Christie’s first election in October 2009. Thirty percent say New Jersey is going in the right direction – a 10-point drop from December 2014 and less than half of the quarter-century high of 61 percent in June 2013.

“Often, as the economy improves, voters feel more positive. But in this state there is now widespread feeling that things are on the wrong track,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling and professor of political science at Rutgers University. “While the governor continues to explore a national run, voters back home are expressing more and more concern about what’s happening in New Jersey and the governor’s performance in dealing with these issues.”

Rutgers conducted the statewide poll of 860 adults contacted by live callers on both landlines and cell phones from Mar. 27- Apr. 3, including 722 registered voters reported on in this release. The registered voter sample has a margin of error of +/-4.0 percentage points. Interviews were done in English and, when requested, Spanish.

Rutgers-Eagleton: Six in ten New Jerseyans say state is on wrong track