Gov. Chris Christie made history on Wednesday.
With the worst approval rating for any governor in any of the states where Quinnipiac University has been polling for 20 years.
The governor hit 15 percent approval among New Jersey voters in the new poll, down from the 17 percent he had hit in February. The last time a governor hit 17 percent was in 1977, when Brendan Byrne signed the state income tax (although that was in a different survey conducted by Eagleton).
“I don’t think he can get any lower, but you never know,” said Mickey Carroll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll.
Christie declined to answer questions about the poll after an unrelated press conference in Trenton on Wednesday, waving off a reporter before entering his SUV.
According to the survey, 81 percent of state voters don’t like the way Christie is handling his job. Independents disapproved by a similar 81 percent to 16 percent. Republicans disapproved 58 percent to 31 percent.
Christie’s approval rating was pegged at 17 percent in February and 18 percent in May by Quinnipiac. The latter poll found 65 percent of voters said Christie’s two terms have been “mainly a failure.”
Even for jaded New Jersey politicos, Christie’s freefall in the polls is a stunning turn of events.
Christie was once a darling of the Republican Party, wooed by donors and foreign policy experts who tried to get him to enter the 2012 presidential race as an alternative to Mitt Romney. His approval rating topped off at 73 percent in a 2013 Fairleigh Dickinson poll after Superstorm Sandy. And he won re-election by a wide margin, 60 percent to 38 percent, in 2013.
But his poll numbers have plummeted in the wake of the Bridgegate scandal, his failed presidential bid and his advocacy for President Trump, an unpopular figure in New Jersey. Christie associates were convicted of closing Fort Lee access lanes to the George Washington Bridge to punish a Democratic mayor for not endorsing Christie’s re-election bid. And then, Christie was often out of the state to campaign for president while New Jersey faced pressing financial issues.
“He’s now irrelevant” Carroll said. “One, he burned up everything he had and two, there’s a new governor coming in an that’s the only one people are interested in.”
Quinnipiac surveyed 1,103 New Jersey voters from June 7 to June 12. The poll has a margin of error of plus-minus 3.8 percentage points.