New Jersey voters ho-hum on Chris Christie: poll

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talks during a town hall meeting, April 9, 2014 in Fairfield, N.J (Photo by Julio Cortez/AP)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talks during a town hall meeting, April 9, 2014 in Fairfield, N.J

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may be getting accolades around the country for helping to increase the number of GOP governors as chairman of the Republican Governors Association – but back in his home state, it’s an entirely different story.

According to a new Rutgers-Eagleton poll, most New Jersey voters dislike the governor’s handling of the economy and taxes, which remain their top two concerns. And just 44% of respondents said they feel favorable toward Christie – a potential 2016 presidential candidate -- while 46% said they feel unfavorable to him.

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“Voters remain divided on how Christie is doing,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Eagle Center for Public Interest Polling and professor at Rutgers University. “Without any recent marquee policy win and with the bloom of Sandy recovery long gone, we seem to have settled into a stasis where Democrats dislike Christie, Republicans still support him and independents are mostly split down the middle.”

During the beginning of his tenure, Christie made a reputation as having broad, bipartisan appeal in the blue-leaning state – even earning the support of Democratic mayors and local officials during his re-election bid in 2013. That support seems to have slipped, even among Republicans on some issues.

According to the survey, while 57% of GOP voters said they approved of Christie’s handling of the economy and jobs, his approval on taxes dropped 7 points since October, to 46%.

He fared even worse among Democrats. Just 27% said they approved of Christie’s handling on the economy and the jobs, with 64% disapproving. And just 22% approved his handling on taxes with the majority—70% -- disapproving. Independent voters also felt lukewarm on the two issues, with just 31% approving his work on the economy and 32% of taxes.

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Meanwhile, a separate NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll released this week found that the majority of American voters—53%--couldn’t support Christie for president in 2016, with just 27% saying they could.

But those numbers are in line with other potential, moderate GOP candidates. Just 31% said they could see themselves backing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush—who announced this week he was “actively” exploring a 2016 bid – and 57% saying the couldn’t support him. And just 33% said they could potentially support 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney compared to 60% who were against the idea.