Today I look at how New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is doing with the folks back home in New Jersey. Yesterday we took a look at national polling on Gov. Chris Christie in comparison to GOP presidential candidates. He does well in that comparison, but what about the voters who know him best?
On job approval, Christie has consistently had approval in the mid-to-upper 40s but only rarely breaking 50 percent, with the trend line holding below 50 except for the most recent observation, which is pulled up by the latest quite positive poll result. Since becoming governor in January 2010, Christie’s job approval has mostly been a few points above water but neither approval nor disapproval has seen a major surge or a major drop. This past spring saw a modest reversal with disapproval surpassing approval for not quite six months. The most recent poll finds a big jump in approval, but without a few more polls to verify that result I’d be cautious in embracing the results of just one poll, even though my trend lines chase that latest poll.
Christie has been a fairly polarizing figure in the job approval polling. The chart below shows job approval broken down by partisanship.
Not surprisingly there is a strong partisan gap with Republican approval near 80% while Democrats offer only a bit over 20% approval.That is a substantial degree of polarization, though not near the close to 90-10 split in Wisconsin, which currently leads the nation in gubernatorial polarization.
The most interesting result in the chart is the independents who are close to 50% except at the very end. While partisans are just about mirror images of each other, it is interesting that independents have helped support Christie’s approval by sticking so close to that 50% approval rate. Should independents stray either up or down we would see some significant movement in overall approval, yet despite controversy and contentious issues, independents are and remain evenly split.
The patterns in favorability ratings are mostly similar since Christie took office in January 2010, though with more dynamics prior to the 2009 election as voters got to know Christie during the campaign.
And the partisan split is very similar to that for job approval. Some politicians enjoy higher favorability ratings than job approval, but in Christie’s case the two track pretty evenly. As with approval, independents can again control the balance of power but remain very near 50% favorable with no sign of a clear change in views.