HUFFPOLLSTER: New Jersey Poll A Mixed Bag For Chris Christie

A new poll in New Jersey is a mixed bag for Chris Christie. Frank Newport warns against ignoring the rise in independents. And millennials aren't all that enthused about fighting for liberal economic reform. This is HuffPollster for Monday, January 13, 2014.

IN NEW JERSEY: CHRISTIE'S FAVORABLE RATING TAKES A BIGGER HIT THAN HIS JOB RATING - Monmouth University release: "Gov. Christie’s job rating currently stands at 59% approve to 32% disapprove among New Jersey residents and 58% to 35% among registered voters. His job approval stood at 65% approve just one month ago... Christie’s current job rating is still higher than any poll ratings he had in his term prior to Sandy...While the governor’s job rating is still positive, personal views of the man have become decidedly mixed. Currently, 44% of New Jerseyans hold a favorable impression of Chris Christie personally, 28% have an unfavorable opinion, and 28% are unsure how they feel about him. One year ago, a whopping 70% held him in positive regard compared to just 19% with a negative view. Prior to Sandy, 52% had a favorable opinion of Christie and 34% had an unfavorable view. 'There is now a gap between the public’s view of Christie’s job performance and his personal behavior. There has been a shift from largely positive opinion of the man to a situation where some New Jerseyans are not quite sure what to think of him,' said [polling director Patrick] Murray... Less than half (44%) of New Jerseyans say that Christie has the right temperament to be president while more (49%) say he does not. This is a reversal from as recently as this past September, when 56% said his personality was a good fit for the Oval Office and just 34% felt it was not." [Monmouth University]

NJ divided on whether it's a 'big deal' - Monmouth release: "Just over half (51%) [of NJ adults] are bothered by what they have learned so far, including 33% who are bothered a lot and 18% who are bothered a little. On the other hand, a sizable 48% say they are not bothered at all. Among those who have heard a lot about the incident, 60% are bothered and 40% are not. Democrats (59%) are more likely than independents (47%) and Republicans (45%) to be bothered by what they have heard about the issue." [ibid]

Half think Christie knew staff was involved - Todd Bates: "About half of New Jersey adults think Gov. Chris Christie knew his staff was involved in the 'Bridgegate' scandal before emails became public last week* according to a new Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll. And 51 percent say they do not think the governor has been 'completely honest' about what he knows about the incident, the poll found. But 52 percent do not believe Christie was personally involved in the decision to slash Fort Lee’s access to George Washington Bridge toll lanes last September, according to the poll." [Asbury Park Press]

NATIONALLY: FEW ARE FOLLOWING CLOSELY - Pew Research: "The public paid far more attention to last week’s cold snap than to the controversy swirling around New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. There also has been little short-term change in opinions about Christie: 60% say their opinion of Christie has not changed in recent days, while 16% now view him less favorably and 6% more favorably….The survey finds that majorities of Republicans (69%), Democrats (55%) and independents (60%) say that their opinion of Christie has not changed lately. Among Republicans, about as many say their opinion has become more favorable (9%) as less favorable (10%)." [Pew]

-Pew Research President Alan Murray: "Only 18% of Americans paid close attention to Christie story; 44% paid attention to the weather story." [@alansmurray]

NEWPORT: RISE OF INDEPENDENTS 'CANNOT BE IGNORED' - Gallup's Frank Newport takes up the issue of why more Americans initially describe themselves as "independent" even though most continue to lean to one of the parties and vote for that party's candidates in most elections: "[T]he fact that there has been an increasing probability that Americans will choose the label 'independent' rather than one of the two major party labels when first asked about their party identification cannot be ignored. It certainly suggests that the strength of attachment to the major parties is less than it used to be -- even if, when push comes to shove, Americans still tilt in one direction or the other. A weakened sense of loyalty to a party means that there is a higher chance of change in the status quo in terms of voting behavior in elections, and that could be very interesting to watch this year. In general, we have a public that: 1) is fed up with Congress, 2) is fed up with government, 3) views fixing government as one of the top problems facing the nation, and 4) is increasingly less likely to identify with one of the two national parties. Plus, we also have images of the government as inept (healthcare exchanges) or corrupt (George Washington Bridge lane closures) at the top of our news queues in recent months...All of this would seem to favor a candidate who, if not a classic independent, does not have a strong history of association with the major parties. In other words, someone who has a more anti-establishment background, who is more likely to focus on getting problems solved than on partisanship and ideology, and who is decidedly practical and efficient." [Gallup]

LITTLE SUPPORT FOR PROPOSED MILLENNIAL REFORMS - Emily Swanson: "A Rolling Stone rundown of "Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For" roiled the Internet last week, sparking a multi-layered debate about the policies being proposed and the wisdom of proposing them at all….If the results of a new HuffPost/YouGov poll are any guide, Myerson has his work cut out for him when it comes to rallying support for his ideas….Guaranteeing a job to every American was by far the most popular of Myerson's '5 things,' with 47 percent saying they favored guaranteeing a job to every American adult who couldn't find one in the private sector, and 41 percent saying they were opposed to the idea….While Americans were more likely than not to support guaranteeing a job for everyone, relatively few said they supported using an expanded Social Security program to guarantee a minimum income to every American." [HuffPost]

HUFFPOLLSTER VIA EMAIL! - You can receive this daily update every weekday via email! Just enter your email address in the box on the upper right corner of this page, and click "sign up." That's all there is to it (and you can unsubscribe anytime).

MONDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data that we missed during our holiday break (starting with a few new items from today:

-DC political insiders saw Christie as the strongest Republican for 2016 before the bridge scandal broke open. [YouGov]

-MTV's "16 and Pregnant" led to a 6 percent reduction in teen births, according to the teenage birth rate, according to an economic study. [NYTimes]

-Sarah Binder says it's premature to let ideological polarization among lawmakers off the hood as culprit in congressional gridlock. [WaPost's Monkey Cage]

-Michele Swers says electing women is not a polarization solution. [WaPost's Monkey Cage]

-Andrew Smith and David Moore share doubts about poll results on trans fats from the GfK Knowledge Panel. [iMediaEthics]

-Market researcher Annie Petit questions "the myth" of the Total Survey Error (TSE) framework. [LoveStats]

-Anthony Asanti (R) ponders the overreporting of exercise and wishes more pollsters would take "social desirability" bias into account. [WPA Research]

-A television ad for Scientology gets a lot less believable after it mentions "Scientology." [MediaCurves/YouTube via @AlexLundry]