Public surveys find Chris Christie’s approval at 20-year low for all governors

Two polls released Tuesday reveal that Governor Chris Christie’s approval rating among New Jersey voters has plummeted to more than a two-decade low among all state governors.

The surveys, conducted by Quinnipiac University and Farleigh Dickinson University between the last days of November and early December, specifically show that less than 20 percent approve of the job the former Republican presidential candidate is currently doing in the state capital of Trenton.

Perhaps just as significantly, both polls also show that more than half of all New Jersey Republicans disapprove of Gov. Christie, while only about one-third said they approve.

“How the mighty have fallen,” said Qunnipiac Assistant Poll Director Maurice Carroll. “Remember four years ago, when Republican leaders were pleading with . . . Christie to run for president and he looked like a sure thing for reelection — which he was? Now the neighbors have handed him the most dubious of honors, the lowest approval rating ever measured for a governor in the states surveyed by the Quinnipiac University Poll.”

Based on subsequent survey questions, it seems as though Christie’s involvement in “Bridgegate” is the main culprit for his sharp decline in popularity.

Forty-eight percent of respondents in the Quinnipiac survey said the New Jersey governor “personally ordered the traffic jam” on the George Washington Bridge, while 71 percent agreed that “Christie was aware” that the scheme had been created by subordinates.

Over 70 percent of all registered New Jersey voters also said that Christie is not “honest and trustworthy”, while a similar proportion of respondents in the FDU survey said that “Christie should have been a defendant in the Bridgegate trial.”

“Across the board we see disbelief in Governor Christie’s claims of ignorance about what his underlings were up to,” said Farleigh Dickinson political science professor Krista Jenkins. “The only group who offers some degree of equivocation is Republicans, but even half of them say they believe the governor should have been a defendant. Past surveys from FDU have found a majority of registered voters incredulous at the claim that he knew nothing until incriminating text messages and emails were made public.”

Jenkins, who is also involved with FDU’s PublicMind polling outlet, noted that the survey’s published findings are the lowest approval rating for a New Jersey governor since the poll started gathering voter opinion data in 2002.

The all-time low governor’s approval rating in New Jersey still stands at 17 percent, after Democrat Brendan Byrne signed a state income tax bill into law in 1977.