New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) continues to struggle with his image in the state months after it was revealed that his aides intentionally created traffic gridlock near the George Washington Bridge to punish a mayor who had not supported Christie's re-election, a new Quinnipiac poll finds.
Forty-nine percent of New Jersey voters said they approve of the job Christie is doing as governor, while 47 percent disapprove. Respondents were split along party lines, with 86 percent of Republicans approving of Christie's job performance, compared with 47 percent of independents and only 23 percent of Democrats.
Christie's favorability rating is even, with 47 percent saying they have a favorable opinion of him and another 47 percent saying they have an unfavorable opinion. In November, 64 percent of respondents expressed a favorable opinion of Christie, and only 29 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion.
Opinions about Christie's personality in particular have soured. When asked whether they saw Christie as more of a bully or a leader, 48 percent of respondents said bully, while another 48 percent said leader. In a January Quinnipiac poll, conducted as information about the bridge scandal was first being released, 54 percent of respondents saw Christie more as a leader, while 40 percent saw him as a bully.
Christie's image may be struggling in this most recent poll in part because many New Jerseyans hold Christie partially responsible for the bridge scandal. Among respondents who had heard or read something about "Bridgegate," 47 percent said they believe Christie was aware that his aides were causing the traffic jam and 45 percent said Christie's aides were acting without his knowledge. A much smaller number, 26 percent, said they believe Christie is directly responsible for the traffic jam.
The Quinnipiac poll surveyed 1,148 voters by phone from July 31 to Aug. 4.