New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie insists his recent troubles are behind him. But his approval ratings tell a different story.
Christie’s approval rating among Garden State residents has dropped to the lowest it’s been in three years, according to a Quinnipiac poll released on Thursday. Less than half of those surveyed like the job the governor is doing, compared to 47% who said they disapproved.
That’s the lowest net approval rating he’s gotten since August 2011 and down from a 74% high in February 2013. Christie’s numbers began to fall last September after allegations that some of his staffers and allies closed lanes on the George Washington Bridge, seemingly for political retribution. The governor, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, has denied any prior knowledge.
The poll, however, showed that many voters are skeptical. Of those surveyed, 47% said they believe Christie was aware that his aides were causing the lane closures and ensuing traffic jams. Meanwhile, 45% said they believed the aides were acting without his knowledge.
The majority, 55%, said the bridge scandal damages Christie’s chances as a 2016 presidential candidate while 37% believed it would have no impact.
Another Quinnipiac poll released on Wednesday also did not bode well for Christie with regards to the next presidential election. It showed that former secretary of state Hillary Clinton – the Democratic Party’s clear favorite — would beat Christie in his home state if the 2016 election were held today. The former secretary of state won 50% of registered voters’ support. Christie garnered 42%.
Besides the bridge scandal, Christie has come under criticism on several other fronts in his home state, including a veto on gun control legislation and a controversial budget that reduced pension funding.
Christie — who is chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association — has been hitting the campaign trail to stump for 2014 candidates. This week it was announced that former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will team up with Christie in New Jersey next month for an event being billed as a birthday fundraiser on behalf of the New Jersey Republican State Committee. Christie turns 52 on Sept. 6.