Amid a rush of controversy quickly engulfing his administration, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s approval rating has fallen to its lowest level since 2011, according to a new Fairleigh Dickinson University poll released Tuesday.
Christie’s approval rating among New Jersey voters took a nosedive to 48% in the new poll, from a solid 62% in October. That’s the lowest mark for Christie since May 2011, when only 44% of respondents in the Fairleigh Dickinson poll approved of his job performance. His disapproval rating, now at 39%, also is at its worst mark since May 2011.
The new poll also continues a recurring trend for Christie over the past few weeks — his approval and favorability ratings have regressed to pre-Hurricane Sandy levels.
Taken together, the polls the numbers provide the first wave of significant backlash for Christie in the evolving “Bridgegate” scandal.
The Christie administration is facing investigations from the New Jersey legislature and from the U.S. Attorney of New Jersey. Investigators are trying to determine the reasons for the lane closures onto the George Washington Bridge from Fort Lee, N.J., in September.
In addition to the investigation over the George Washington Bridge lane closures, the Christie administration is under federal investigation for its use of Hurricane Sandy relief funds. And Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer (D) has alleged that the Christie administration held those relief funds “hostage” to pressure her on a development project favoured by the administration.
“The allegations of malicious politicking in his administration are taking their toll,” said Krista Jenkins, director of the Fairleigh Dickinson poll.
“His declining approval comes at an inopportune time. His entrance on the national stage as head of the Republican Governor’s Association, and possible presidential contender for 2016, complicates his introduction to a national electorate.”
Democrats and political independents have soured quickly on Christie, potentially undercutting one of his major arguments for a 2016 presidential candidacy — that he has crossover, mass appeal in a traditionally blue state.
In October, leading up to his landslide re-election victory, 47% of Democrats and 60% of independents approved of Christie’s job performance. Today, those numbers have dropped to 34% and 41%, respectively.
The Fairleigh Dickinson poll sampled 734 registered voters in New Jersey and had a margin of error of 3.6%.
Here’s a chart from Fairleigh Dickinson that shows how quickly Christie’s approval-to-disapproval rating has tightened:
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