Christie gets split rating on job performance

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks at the second day of the 5th annual Faith & Freedom Coalition's "Road to Majority" Policy Conference in Washington, June 20, 2014. (REUTERS/Larry Downing)

Just under half of New Jersey voters approve of Gov. Christie’s job performance, according to a new Quinnipiac University Poll – the latest to find that the governor’s ratings haven’t rebounded since Bridgegate.

The poll, released today, found that 49 percent of voters approved of Christie’s performance, while 47 percent disapproved. The split represents the Republican governor’s lowest net job approval rating in the poll since 2011. In July 2013, 68 percent of voters approved of him, and 26 percent disapproved.

Voters who approved of Christie divided along party lines: 86 percent of Republicans approved, while 71 percent of Democrats disapproved. Half of independents disapproved of Christie, compared to 47 percent who approved.

The poll also found gender divisions: Men approved of Christie’s job performance, 54 percent to 42 percent, while 50 percent of women disapproved and 44 percent approved.

 “People used to talk about Gov. Christopher Christie’s appeal to independent voters, but many of those voters now have second thoughts,” said Maurice Carroll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll.

The controversy over lane closures last year at the George Washington Bridge “has faded from the headlines, but Gov. Christie still hasn’t recovered,” Carroll said.

Voters gave negative approval ratings for Christie’s handling of the economy, the state budget, and education. The governor’s handling of Hurricane Sandy recovery, however, received a net positive rating, 56 percent to 36 percent.

Christie got high marks in leadership, with 68 percent of voters saying he had strong leadership qualities. (At the same time, voters were split, 48 percent to 48 percent, on whether he was more of a bully or a leader.)

On other personal characteristics, 49 percent of voters said Christie was not honest or trustworthy, compared to 46 percent who said he was.

Carroll said that “being drubbed in the news media for months about Bridgegate has eroded people’s confidence in the Gov’s honesty.”

Few voters, though, thought the bridge scandal had ended the possibility that Christie could be a 2016 presidential contender. Five percent said it had, while 55 percent said it had damaged his chances and 37 percent said it had no impact.

The poll of 1,148 New Jersey voters was conducted between July 31 and Aug. 4 and has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.