Monthly Archives: February 2016

Pension Payments and Minimum Wage

Click here for a PDF of the release text, questions, and tables. 

NEW JERSEY VOTERS DIVIDED OVER QUARTERLY PENSION PAYMENTS; OPPOSE FUNDING THROUGH TAX HIKES, BUDGET CUTS

Strong support for minimum wage increase

 NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – As a battle looms over recent proposals by Democratic leaders in the state Legislature, public opinion has taken sides on the issues of pension payments and the minimum wage in New Jersey, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.

Registered voters are more in favor than opposed to a proposed constitutional amendment that would require the state to make yearly payments to the public employee pension system. When the pros and cons of mandated regular payments are explained, a 49 percent plurality supports the plan. Forty percent say they would oppose it, however, and 11 percent are unsure.

But voters do not want to fund regular payments if it means higher taxes or making cuts elsewhere in the budget: 77 percent oppose the former and 54 percent oppose the latter as ways to fund the pension system.

Sixty-two percent of voters would prefer state workers contribute more toward their own pensions. Sixty-eight percent wish to see cost-saving reforms made to public employee health benefits, something already put forth by Gov. Chris Christie and his bipartisan commission.

A millionaire’s tax also is a popular funding method with voters: 71 percent support increasing taxes on the wealthiest New Jerseyans in order to make regular pension payments.

“Details play a crucial role in voter responses to these issues,” said Ashley Koning, assistant director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University. “Voters are more likely than not to favor mandated pension payments, but they do not want to pay for it themselves.”

A proposal to increase the minimum wage in New Jersey gets much more support than the pension payment amendment. Seventy-three percent of voters support the plan proposed by state Senate President Stephen Sweeney and state Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, which would gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next several years. Twenty-five percent oppose it, and 2 percent are unsure.

“Voters have always strongly favored minimum wage increases in New Jersey,” said Koning. “This time is no different despite the proposed hourly jump from $8.38 to $15 – most likely because voters were explicitly told that the increase would be gradual.”

Sweeney, who most expect to run for governor in 2017, has been a guiding force for both the minimum wage and pension proposal, but over half of voters in the Garden State have no opinion of him or do not know who he is. Another 27 percent have a favorable impression of Sweeney, while 19 percent have an unfavorable one.

Results are from a statewide poll of 801 adults contacted by live callers on both landlines and cell phones from Feb. 18 to 23, 2016, including 710 registered voters reported on in this release. The registered voter sample has a margin of error of +/-3.8 percentage points. Interviews were done in English and, when requested, Spanish.

Pension issue divided by key demographics

While there is a predictable partisan divide on pensions, it is not as strong as might be expected. Fifty-seven percent of Democrats support the amendment, while 31 percent oppose it and 12 percent are unsure. Republicans are just the opposite: 38 percent support requiring regular pension payments, while 51 percent oppose it and 10 percent are unsure. Independents are split, 47 percent support to 43 percent oppose; another 10 percent are uncertain.

Those in public union households are unsurprisingly big supporters of the amendment; 64 percent support it, though 26 percent of this group is opposed and 11 percent are undecided. Voters living in households with no union affiliation are evenly divided – 45 percent support to 44 percent oppose.

While a plurality supports quarterly pensions payments, tax increases or other budget cuts are not seen as the answer to funding the payments. Anti-tax sentiment is strongest among Republicans and conservatives – over eight in 10 oppose increasing taxes. Almost the same number of independents is against tax hikes as a means of funding the pension. A majority of Democrats also do not want to increase taxes to fund pension payments (30 percent support to 66 percent oppose), though they are less likely to say so than their partisan counterparts.

But even if they do not want to see their own taxes increased, partisans of all stripes – 85 percent of Democrats, 69 percent of independents, and even 50 percent of Republicans – support a tax increase specifically on millionaires.

Making cuts to other services, programs, and aid elsewhere in the budget in order to fund pension payments also provokes strong opposition, though from different sources. Over half of Republicans support this method of funding (54 percent to 41 percent oppose). Independents (at 43 percent support to 49 percent oppose) and especially Democrats (at 24 percent support to 67 percent oppose) take the opposite view.

Support for making budget cuts is also significantly influenced by gender. Male voters are split 49 percent support to 45 percent oppose, but female voters are solidly against making cuts – 29 percent support to 62 percent oppose.

Support for budget cuts increases along with income, from 30 percent among those in households making under $50,000 annually to a 51 percent bare majority among those making $150,000.

Putting the burden to fund regular pension payments on state workers themselves is popular with a number of groups. A majority of Democrats, independents, and Republicans alike support requiring state workers to contribute more to their pensions and benefits, as well as reforming their health benefits to be more in line with private health insurance plans. Non-white voters are less likely than white voters to support such actions, but a majority of both non-white and white voters favor these measures.

Likewise, voters in higher income households are more likely than those with lower incomes to support increased contributions from state workers and reform of public worker health benefits, but majorities in both groups nonetheless are in favor of each.

Voters in public union employee households are solidly against paying more toward their pensions and benefits – 34 percent support to 63 percent oppose. Yet more than half of this group – 55 percent – would be open to reforming their health benefits; 39 percent would oppose it. Seven in 10 voters from non-union households support both of these measures in order to fund regular pension payments.

Strong minimum wage support across the board

A majority of nearly every group favors the most recent minimum wage proposal, which calls for an immediate increase from $8.38 to $10.10 an hour, followed by an annual increase of $1 plus cost of living adjustments over the next five years. Only Republicans and conservatives are more likely to oppose than support the change – 43 percent support to 54 oppose among Republicans and 43 percent support to 55 percent oppose among conservatives.

Female voters (83 percent support), non-white voters (85 percent support), younger voters (78 percent support), and voters in the lowest income bracket (78 percent support) show even greater support for the proposition than their counterparts.

Sweeney and other prospective 2017 candidates largely unknown

Sweeney is not alone in being relatively unknown statewide among prospective 2017 gubernatorial candidates. Seventy-five percent of voters have no opinion or do not know of Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who is thought to be planning a Democratic bid. Fourteen percent are favorable toward him, and 11 percent are unfavorable. Former U.S. Ambassador Phil Murphy, also a Democrat, is least known of all, at 87 percent; 8 percent feel favorably toward him, and 4 percent feel unfavorably.

On the GOP side, 57 percent are still unaware of Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno; another 22 percent have a favorable impression of her, while the remaining 21 percent have an unfavorable impression.

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VOTERS MIXED ABOUT CHRISTIE’S RETURN TO NEW JERSEY … Low Issue Approval Ratings for Christie Continue, but Is There a Glimmer of Hope?

New poll, new Christie numbers.  We round out our “welcome home, Governor” polling with a brand new poll conducted right after Christie’s budget address on Feb. 16.  New Jersey voters are mixed about what Christie’s return means for the Garden State moving forward, but a slight plurality do see him having a positive impact now that he is back to governing full time.  And while Christie’s individual issue approvals are still lackluster – all are below the 50-percent mark – there are glimmers of hope that his return home may indicate an upward trend, particularly for independents and Republicans.  Stay tuned for more results from the latest post-budget speech Rutgers-Eagleton Poll!

Click here for a PDF of the release text, questions, and tables.

VOTERS MIXED ABOUT CHRISTIE’S RETURN TO NEW JERSEY

Low Marks Continue for Gov. on State Budget, Taxes, Pension Fund

 NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Gov. Chris Christie may be back to governing full time, but New Jersey voters are split on what this means for the Garden State, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. Following his budget address on Feb. 16, a 36 percent plurality of voters says Christie’s new focus on governing New Jersey will have a positive impact on the state. But 27 percent say his presence will have a negative influence, while another 33 percent think he will have no impact at all. Four percent are unsure.

Christie struggles with voters on many of the issues he highlighted in his speech, including the budget itself. Thirty-two percent now approve of how he is handling the budget. While this is a seven-point increase from his all-time low in December, 55 percent still disapprove.

Christie has also experienced a slight uptick in views on his handling of taxes: 28 percent approve of his performance, up five points from December, while 64 percent continue to disapprove (down seven points). Taxes are a perennial concern with voters: 27 percent now say it is the top problem facing the state.

Christie continues to perform least well on the state pension fund situation. An insignificant two-point bump now has 23 percent of voters approving how he is handling the issue, while 62 percent disapprove (down four points). Christie does little better on other issues: voters mostly disapprove of his handling of transportation and infrastructure (30 percent approve, 58 percent disapprove), education and schools (34 percent approve, 58 percent disapprove), and the economy and jobs (35 percent approve, 59 percent disapprove).

“Voters may be mixed on what impact Governor Christie will have on the state going forward, but they are clear in their assessment of the job he has been doing up to this point,” said Ashley Koning, assistant director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University. “Despite the lackluster ratings, there may be a small bright spot here. His record low approvals in December have mostly inched up. It is too soon to tell, but his resumed presence in the state may be renewing a bit of faith – or at least halting his ratings slide.”

Voters remain mostly negative about the state’s overall direction, however: 34 percent say New Jersey is headed in the right direction, while 57 percent say the state has gone off on the wrong track.

Results are from a statewide poll of 801 adults contacted by live callers on both landlines and cell phones from Feb. 18 to 23, 2016, including 710 registered voters reported on in this release. The registered voter sample has a margin of error of +/-3.8 percentage points. Interviews were done in English and, when requested, Spanish.

Christie’s return excites some more than others

While voters as a whole are mixed on Christie’s impact now that he is back for good, some groups are more positive than others about his return. Sixty-one percent of Republicans believe the GOP governor will have a positive impact, as do 74 percent of those feeling favorable toward him and 72 percent who approve of the job he is doing overall. These groups are all relatively small, however – less than one-third of voters.

Independents are more divided: 36 percent say he will have a positive impact, 26 percent a negative one, and 35 percent none at all. Unsurprisingly, Democrats are most likely to say he will have a negative impact (at 38 percent), while 23 percent expect a positive influence and 34 percent do not expect his return to matter at all.

Republicans, independents drive slight ratings improvements

Christie’s approval ratings on a variety of individual issues have remained consistently below the 50-percent mark since August 2015. Christie does best on crime and drugs and Hurricane Sandy recovery, but even these more positive than negative numbers are a far cry from what they were in years past. Forty-two percent of all voters now approve of Christie’s handling of crime and drugs (up two points), compared to 41 percent who disapprove (down five points). Voters remain somewhat divided on his handling of Sandy recovery – 49 percent approve (up one point) to 43 percent disapprove (down one point).

While Christie continues to receive majority disapproval on the state budget, his speech may have had some positive impact among independents and especially Republicans, both of whom show double-digit increases in their approval on this issue since December 2015. While only 14 percent of Democrats approve of the governor in this area, 36 percent of independents (up 13 points) and 58 percent of Republicans (up 10 points) do the same.

Christie sees similar improvement on the state pension fund situation and taxes. Twenty-eight percent of independents now approve of Christie’s job on the state pension fund (up seven points), as do 43 percent of Republicans (up 10 points). Likewise, 29 percent of independents (up nine points) and 49 percent of Republicans (up five points) approve of Christie on taxes. Republicans, in particular, are once again more likely to approve than disapprove of Christie on these issues now, after giving him more negative than positive ratings in December.

As for Democrats, on the other hand, about three-quarters continue to disapprove of Christie in both of these areas.

About six in 10 GOP voters also approve of Christie’s handling of the economy and jobs, education and schools, and crime and drugs; half say the same about transportation and seven in 10 approve of his job on Sandy.

A third of independents express approval on the economy and education, as do three in 10 on transportation. Independents are more likely to approve of Christie than disapprove on Sandy recovery, as well as crime and drugs.

Three-quarters of Democrats disapprove of Christie on the economy and education. Two-thirds express disapproval on transportation, and over half say the same about Sandy and crime and drugs.

“It is a good sign for the governor that his issue approval ratings received a boost among independents and especially Republicans after his first big speech back home,” said Koning. “While Christie has always received lackluster ratings from Democrats – except for some time post-Sandy – independents and Republicans have continually been the driving force of his ratings ups and downs. It seems these two groups have a more positive outlook now that Christie has returned to governing full time.”

More of the same: negative state outlook, taxes top concern

Assessments of the state’s direction have been more negative than positive since March 2014, with the gap between right direction and wrong track widening within the last several months. About six in 10 voters have consistently said the state is off on the wrong track since April 2015. This is a complete reversal from the prolonged positivity felt throughout 2013. Such intensely negative views have not been felt since October 2009.

Partisanship and feelings about Christie color state assessment. While a majority of Republicans and especially Christie supporters feel New Jersey is headed in the right direction, Democrats, independents, and those who either have an unfavorable impression or disapprove of Christie say just the opposite.

Once again, taxes are the top concern among voters in the state, now at 27 percent; the issue has consistently taken the number one spot since October 2014. Democrats (19 percent), independents (30 percent), and Republicans (34 percent) alike are most likely to choose it as the top problem facing the state.

Another 15 percent of voters say economy and jobs is the most pressing concern, followed by government corruption and abuse of power (14 percent), and education (12 percent).

Christie Issue Appr Feb 2016.png

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TRUMP TRUMPS THE REST OF GOP IN NJ; CLINTON HAS DOUBLE-DIGIT LEAD OVER SANDERS

Click here for a PDF of the release text, questions, and tables.

TRUMP, CLINTON CONTINUE TO HOLD COMMANDING LEADS IN NEW JERSEY; RUBIO A DISTANT SECOND IN GOP RACE 

Over half of voters dissatisfied with 2016 field of candidates

 Note: This Rutgers-Eagleton Poll overlapped the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, February 9, and Gov. Christie’s official end to his presidential bid on Wednesday, February 10, but was conducted prior to the South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucus.

 NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – “Trump-mentum” is at an all-time high with Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters in New Jersey, who are now more likely than ever to choose businessman Donald Trump as their presidential nominee, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.

Thirty-eight percent would choose Trump if they had to cast their primary vote today. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who would receive only 11 percent of the vote, is a distant second. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is neck and neck with Rubio, coming in third at 10 percent.

Voters interviewed for this poll leading up to the New Hampshire primary were just as likely to choose Trump as those interviewed afterward, unlike the post-primary fluctuations in support seen for other GOP candidates based on their performance in the Granite State.

Among all New Jersey voters, Trump is not overwhelmingly popular, however: 31 percent have a favorable impression of the entrepreneur, while 57 percent have an unfavorable one – almost the same as Gov. Chris Christie’s numbers in the Garden State. Voters are slightly less favorable toward Rubio and Cruz, at 27 percent and 20 percent, respectively, though negativity toward these candidates is not as strong as it is toward Trump. Thirty-seven percent are unfavorable toward Rubio (another 37 percent have no opinion or do not know him), and 48 percent are unfavorable toward Cruz (another 32 percent have no opinion or do not know him).

But Trump’s ratings specifically among Republican voters are solid, far surpassing his competition’s. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans are favorable toward Trump (30 percent are unfavorable), compared to 40 percent who say the same about Rubio (27 percent unfavorable), and 31 percent who say the same about Cruz (38 percent unfavorable).

On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton easily beats Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for the nomination, 55 percent to 32 percent. Yet Sanders has an edge in favorability. Forty-six percent of voters have a favorable impression of the senator, while 29 percent have an unfavorable one and another 25 percent have no opinion or are not familiar with him. Clinton, on the other hand, receives higher negative than positive ratings – 42 percent favorable versus 47 percent unfavorable, with 11 percent uncertain. This is a marked difference from Clinton’s ratings a year ago, which were 59 percent favorable to 31 percent unfavorable.

Clinton, however, excels with her own party base. Over three-quarters of Democrats are favorable toward her, versus two-thirds who feel the same about Sanders.

Although each party has a clear frontrunner, more than half of voters are dissatisfied with the current field of candidates: 30 percent are somewhat dissatisfied, and 25 percent are very dissatisfied. Just 9 percent say they are very satisfied, and another 36 percent are somewhat satisfied. Republicans are most likely to express satisfaction with the choices available, followed by Democrats, with independents least satisfied.

“New Jersey voters look like the rest of the country when it comes to the 2016 race,” said Ashley Koning, assistant director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University. “Trump and Clinton hold strong leads and garner solid majorities among their respective party bases, despite their higher negative than positive ratings statewide. Yet neither candidate does well with independents, the driving force behind dissatisfaction with the current field – a strong indication of how polarizing the 2016 race already has become.”

Results are from a statewide poll of 889 adults contacted by live callers on both landlines and cell phones from Feb. 6 to 15, 2016, including 758 registered voters reported on in this release. The registered voter sample has a margin of error of +/-3.9 percentage points. Interviews were done in English and, when requested, Spanish.

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Back in NJ, Christie Not Seen as Strong Leader, Effective, Trustworthy

Click here for a PDF of the release text, questions, and tables.

NEW JERSEYANS HAVE CHRISTIE BACK, BUT DON’T SEE HIM AS STRONG LEADER, EFFECTIVE, OR TRUSTWORTHY

 Majorities continue to view him as arrogant, self-centered, stubborn

 Note: This Rutgers-Eagleton Poll was conducted prior to Gov. Chris Christie’s February 16th budget address.

 NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Gov. Chris Christie may be back for good in the Garden State, but New Jersey voters have few nice things to say upon his return, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. Asked how well a series of personality and leadership traits describe the governor, registered voters are less likely than ever to apply positive descriptors.

Thirty percent now say “strong leader” describes Christie “very well” – an all-time low, down 36 points since his reelection in 2013, 26 points since Bridgegate erupted in January 2014, and 10 points since August 2015. This is the single largest decline over time of any of the traits. Another 31 percent now think the trait applies only “somewhat well,” and 37 percent say it does not apply at all.

Even fewer say “effective” describes the governor very well: only 22 percent, a new low. Thirty-nine percent say this describes him somewhat well, and 36 percent say not at all.

Christie continues to suffer most when it comes to issues of honesty and authenticity. Just 15 percent say “trustworthy” describes him very well (33 percent somewhat well, 49 percent not at all), another new low, surpassing previous lows following the George Washington Bridge scandal. When it comes to sincerity, the pattern holds: 22 percent say “sincere” fits him very well, 29 percent somewhat well, and 44 percent not at all.

Fewer voters now ascribe “smart” to Christie – 44 percent, seven points lower than last August. Only 10 percent say “presidential” fits Christie very well, a number that remained virtually steady throughout his campaign.

“It is no coincidence that New Jersey voters give Governor Christie some of his lowest character ratings to date upon his return home,” said Ashley Koning, assistant director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University. “With the governor spending the last several months on the campaign trail, positive perceptions of him have taken a hit across the board in his absence – especially leadership, a trait that has usually been his strong suit since taking office.”

Perceptions of Christie’s negative traits have not changed quite as dramatically as his positives. Voters are slightly more likely to say “arrogant” describes the governor very well, now at 62 percent (up four points). Sixty-five percent still call him “stubborn,” and 53 percent say “self-centered” is an apt descriptor. Half say “bully” suits the governor very well, and 41 percent say the same about “impulsive.”

Results are from a statewide poll of 889 adults contacted by live callers on both landlines and cell phones from Feb. 6 to 15, 2016, including 758 registered voters reported on in this release. The registered voter sample has a margin of error of +/-3.9 percentage points. Interviews were done in English and, when requested, Spanish.

Republicans, independents spur new lows on positive traits

Belief that Christie is a strong leader has suffered most during Christie’s presidential run – especially with independents and Republicans. While Democrats remain stable in their views on the trait since August (17 percent say it fits Christie very well), Republicans and independents drive the overall double-digit decline. A bare majority of GOP voters – 52 percent – now say “strong leader” fits Christie very well, down 12 points since August. Among independents, 29 percent now say the same – a 14-point drop.

Republicans and independents are both less likely to ascribe “smart” to the governor in the past six months: 65 percent of Republicans (down six points) and 43 percent of independents (down 11 points) now say “smart” describes Christie very well. Democrats again hold steady in their views here, at 33 percent.

Republicans are also markedly more negative on whether “effective” describes Christie very well – now at 41 percent, a 13-point drop since August. Ten percent of Democrats say the same (down five points), as do 22 percent of independents (down two points).

Increased negativity on “trustworthy” – one of the traits consistently ascribed least to Christie since Bridgegate – is driven by independents this time: 12 percent now say this suits him very well (down 11 points), while Democrats and Republicans remain virtually steady in their views at 7 percent and 36 percent, respectively.

“Independents and Republicans had a more positive outlook on Governor Christie’s character back in August, but now, they are the ones driving the decline,” said Koning. “As the governor gets back to business in the Garden State, increasing favorable perceptions of himself among these two groups is crucial to what he can accomplish in his remaining two years, his legacy as governor, and any ability to tout his bipartisan appeal should he run for national office again.”

Negative perceptions hold steady

Unlike their positive counterparts, negative perceptions of Christie have changed little in the past six months. “Arrogant” achieves a new overall high due to a modest increase among independents (now at 65 percent, up five points) and Republicans (now at 37 percent, up four points); Democrats hold steady, with 73 percent saying this describes Christie very well.

On most other negative traits, voters are about as likely to ascribe them to the governor as they were in August. Sixty-seven percent of Democrats (down six points), 68 percent of independents, and 53 percent of Republicans say that “stubborn” suits Christie very well. Sixty-two percent of Democrats, 53 percent of independents, and 26 percent of Republicans say the same about “bully.” Sixty-six percent of Democrats, 54 percent of independents, and 29 percent of Republicans believe “self-centered” is a very fitting description.

While Democrats are nearly as likely as they were in August to say Christie is impulsive (now at 51 percent), independents and Republicans are slightly less likely to do so – now at 40 percent (down six points) and 27 percent (down seven points), respectively.

Voters lack pride, enthusiasm more than ever

Voters continue to feel “angry” about Christie (now at 41 percent), while 45 percent are “worried,” and 37 percent feel “contempt.” Just a quarter say Christie makes them feel “proud” or “enthusiastic”; both emotions are down about 20 points since Christie’s re-election in 2013 and another 10 points since news of Bridgegate first broke in January 2014.

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Welcome Home? Gov. Christie Gets Chilly Reception From NJ Voters Pre-Budget Address

It’s a brand new year, and we are back with some brand new results!  First up, just in time for Gov. Christie’s budget address today, the latest numbers on our governor.  Things do not look good for him … certainly not a warm welcome for him back here in the Garden State after ending his presidential campaign last week.

Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks!

Click here for a PDF of the release text, questions, and tables.

WELCOME HOME, GOVERNOR? CHRISTIE’S FAVORABILITY HITS LOWEST YET

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – There is no warm welcome waiting for N.J. Gov. Chris Christie as he prepares to give his budget speech today, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. Following his failed presidential campaign bid that had him spending more time out-of-state than in-state, just 29 percent of New Jersey registered voters have a favorable opinion of Christie – his low point to date, down four points since December.

While favorable ratings have declined over the past two months, Christie’s unfavorable rating holds steady at its all-time high of 59 percent. A solid majority of New Jersey voters have consistently had an unfavorable impression of the governor in every poll since August 2015.

Christie’s overall job approval likewise remains at its all-time low of 33 percent; 61 percent disapprove, also virtually unchanged since December.

“After six months on the campaign trail and a year of being mostly out of state, Governor Christie is not being welcomed by New Jerseyans with open arms – in fact, quite the opposite,” said Ashley Koning, assistant director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP) at Rutgers University. “Even during the most contentious moments of his governorship – his polarizing first years in office or in Bridegate’s immediate aftermath – the governor’s numbers never reached the consistent lows we saw throughout his run for president and see now upon his return.”

Christie’s favorability is down among partisans of all stripes. Just 12 percent of Democrats (down three points) and 25 percent of independents (down five points) have a favorable opinion of him. While a majority of Republicans are still in his corner, even they have grown more negative – now at 63 percent favorable (down seven points) to 25 percent unfavorable (up five points).

Christie’s overall job approval shows similar patterns. While Democrats (19 percent approve to 79 percent disapprove) and independents (29 percent approve to 62 percent disapprove) show little movement, Republicans once again show notable slippage, although a majority still back the governor – now at 62 percent approve (down seven points) to 30 percent disapprove (up six points).

Ratings do not differ significantly based on whether respondents were interviewed before or after either the New Hampshire Primary last Tuesday or Christie’s official announcement that he would end his campaign last Wednesday.

Christie garners slightly better ratings among voters who are male, white, not living in a public union household, and those living in exurban and shore counties. Nonetheless, even among these groups, he does not receive a favorable or approving majority.

“Going into a budget address with such low ratings does not bode well for Christie’s agenda,” noted David Redlawsk, ECPIP director and professor of political science at Rutgers. “There seems little reason for the Democrats who control the legislature to warmly embrace a governor voters feel so cool about.”

Results are from a statewide poll of 889 adults contacted by live callers on both landlines and cell phones from Feb. 6 to 15, 2016, including 758 registered voters reported on in this release. The registered voter sample has a margin of error of +/-3.9 percentage points. Interviews were done in English and, when requested, Spanish.

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