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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