New Jersey Voters Don’t See President Christie

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at a town hall meeting in Kenilworth.

By John Celock

While more New Jersey residents believe Gov. Chris Christie (R) is going to run for president, many don’t see him making a good president.

A new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released Tuesday shows that a growing amount of Garden State residents do not see their governor making a good president. The poll shows that 69 percent of those surveyed do not believe Christie would make a good president, while 24 percent believe he would make a good president. The poll showed a 10 point jump since February in New Jersey residents believing Christie would not make a good president. The poll surveyed registered voters in New Jersey.

“Voters who know Gov. Christie best simply do not see him as president,” David Redlawsk, the director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling and professor of political science at Rutgers University said in a statement. “New Jerseyans have watched him in good times and bad. While his strengths were on display after the Sandy disaster, he was seen as just another politician after the Bridgegate scandal and the investigations it spawned, and he has never recovered.”

The Bridgegate scandal was spawned after the closure of approach lanes to the George Washington Bridge in September 2013 were found to be connected to members of Christie’s inner circle, as part of an alleged retaliation to the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee’s decision not to endorse Christie for reelection that year. The closure of the lanes caused traffic back-ups throughout Fort Lee. A state legislative committee has been investigating Bridgegate for over a year, along with an investigation from the U.S. attorney. Christie was reelected in a landslide over Democratic nominee Barbara Buono.

The poll showed that while most New Jersey voters do not think Christie would make a good president, most of those surveyed believe he will mount a campaign for the White House. Fifty eight percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of independents surveyed believe Christie will make the race. The poll also showed that younger voters were more likely to see Christie making the presidential run.

The poll showed that while Christie might have easily won a second term in 2013 over Buono, the former state Senate majority leader, voters polled do not see him performing well in his second term. The poll showed that 54 percent of those surveyed disapprove of his job performance as governor, while only 38 percent have a favorable opinion of the governor.

Christie has been taking steps towards a presidential run, including setting up a Super PAC and making some trips to early primary states. Christie’s 2014 term as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, which included national travel and fundraising, is believed to have been a lead-in by him for a presidential run.

While Christie spent most of 2014 on the road, he has spent much of 2015 so far in New Jersey, promoting his gubernatorial agenda, including a plan to change the state’s pension system.

The poll found that Republicans were the most likely to see Christie performing well as president, with 53 percent of Republicans surveyed believing he would perform well in the White House. The poll showed that 85 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents do not believe Christie would make a good president. The poll also showed that 58 percent of those surveyed believe the word “presidential” was not a good description of Christie.