As New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s approval rating continues to soar to record highs a day after he announced his intention to seek a second term as governor, a new poll shows him crushing Newark Mayor Cory Booker in a theoretical 2013 governor race.Booker, a Democrat, is widely considered to be Christie’s staunchest potential opponent in a 2013 campaign. But the poll, from Rutgers-Eagleton, gives Christie a nearly 20-point lead over Booker.
Christie leads Booker 53-34 in the poll, which also puts him above the 50 per cent threshold.
“Before Superstorm Sandy, things looked much different for Christie, as Democrats seemed positioned for a serious challenge next year,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers. “Voters were evenly split over the governor’s reelection, and Mayor Booker in particular looked like a very strong competitor. Post-Sandy, however, the political environment has changed, at least for now.”
The poll coincides with another new poll from Quinnipiac University that puts the Christie’s approval rating at a sky-high 72 per cent, largely a result of his praised response to the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. It comes after a poll from Farleigh Dickinson last week found that voters approved of Christie at a 77 per cent clip.
Across the board, New Jersey voters approve of Christie’s handling of the storm’s aftermath and of his overall job performance. Overall, 95 per cent of Republicans, 77 per cent of Independents and even 52 per cent of Democrats now approve of Christie.
Christie’s overall approval rating is the highest ever recorded for a New Jersey governor. It’s up 16 points from last month, including 15 points among Independents. Democrats, though, gave Christie the biggest jump — the group moved from a 28-65 approval-to-disapproval split to a 52-39 one. That’s a 50-point swing in a month.
The Quinnipiac poll also found that the vast majority of voters — including 69 per cent of Republicans — approved of how Christie praised President Barack Obama’s response to the storm, which caused some backlash on conservatives in the final week of the 2012 presidential campaign.
“Gov. Christopher Christie never looked more like a ‘Jersey Guy’ than when he stood on the Seaside boardwalk after Sandy, and, just about unanimously, his New Jersey neighbours — Republicans, Democrats, Independents — applauded,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a statement.
This post has been updated.