Two-thirds of voters say Gov. Chris Christie has presided over a failed governorship, and his approval rating remains at a historic low, 18 percent, according to a new poll.
The survey from Quinnipiac University showed that Christie’s approval rating is stuck at levels not seen since Democrat Jim Florio angered voters by raising taxes in the 1990s. Christie was at 17 percent in January and 19 percent in March in the Quinnipiac poll.
Although he says he doesn’t fixate on poll numbers, the Republican governor, who came into office as a pro-business, mainstream conservative, has been trying out a populist message lately, hammering United Airlines, Amtrak and New Jersey’s largest health insurance company.
But those attacks have done little to change voters’ overall negative view of Christie, who leaves office in nine months. Instead, years of tough headlines on Bridgegate, the sluggish state economy, and the crisis in the pension system seem to have taken a permanent toll. Asked whether Christie’s two terms have been “mainly a success or mainly a failure,” 65 percent of voters said failure; 25 percent said success.
By a one-point margin, 47 percent to 46 percent, more Republicans disapprove than approve of Christie. “Many of his fellow Republicans aren’t fans,” said pollster Mickey Carroll.
In an interview on Fox News over the weekend, Christie said “no one will remember approval ratings a year from now” but added that he may not have done “everything 100 percent right.”
“The only thing that job approval is worth is two things: One, getting re-elected,” Christie said. “We already did that with 61 percent of the vote in a Democratic state. And two, is trying to get things done. Well, I’ve only get eight months left to get things done, and I’m still doing OK.”
He added, “People who jealously guard their job approval ratings are more concerned with how they look and not what they do.”
The poll also found that New Jersey voters widely support building a new rail tunnel to Manhattan and that most of them favor raising taxes on the wealthy, although the level of support for that varied depending on the way the question was framed. Christie has refused to raise taxes on millionaires and convinced state Democratic lawmakers to repeal the estate tax last year.
But voters do not support across-the-board tax hikes, according to Quinnipiac. Christie signed legislation raising the gas tax by 23 cents per gallon last year.
The polling outfit surveyed 1,209 voters in New Jersey from April 26 to Monday, with a margin of error of plus-minus 2.8 percentage points.