Two polls release this morning indicate that the news avalanche over “Bridgegate;” the George Washington Bridge lane closures and Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s allegations that Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno and other Christie Administration officials said that Sandy relief was contingent upon a development approval have taken a heavy toll on the public’s opinion of Governor Chris Christie.
A Wall Street Journal/NBCNews national poll points to a sharp reversal of American’s opinion of New Jersey’s Governor. 29% view Christie unfavorably while 22% view him favorably. In an October 2013 poll, 33% view the governor favorably, while only 17% viewed him unfavorably.
In New Jersey, Christie still has positive numbers, but the stratospheric approval numbers he has enjoyed since Superstorm Sandy crushed the Garden State have evaporated in the heat of Bridgegate.
The Farleigh Dickson University Public Mind Poll released this morning says that Christie’s job approval rating is below 50% for the first time since May of 2011. 48% of New Jersey registered voters approve of the job he is doing, while 39% do not. 53% of FDU’s respondents think Christie probably knew about the GWB lane closures before they happened.
Any ‘normal politician’ would be very happy with the kind of numbers that FDU put out Christie today. Given the beating he’s been taking in the media, that the voters who know Christie best still approve of him by +9 points, even though they think he probably lied when he said he knew nothing of the GWB lane closures before they happened, the FDU numbers are very positive.
New Jerseyans and the rest of the country are paying close attention to the Christie controversies. 85% of NJ voters told FDU they were watching closely. 79% of Americans are aware of the story, according to the WSJ/NBC poll.
Long term, this is good news for the Governor too, assuming the federal and legislative investigators come up with no wrong doing on his part. Christie’s best number in the WSJ/NBC poll is 50%. While 79% of the respondents said they were aware of the Christie controversies, 50% did not express a favorable or unfavorable opinion. Given the beating he has taken, that is very good news.
At Bloomberg.com, Ramesh Ponnuru writes that Christie is Still Alive for 2016 and that the recent scandals may in a roundabout way help the Governor get elected President.
Since his January 9 press conference addressing the GWB lane closures, Christie himself has been mostly silent about the Fort Lee and Hoboken controversies. He mentioned that “mistakes were made” at the beginning of his State of the State Address. He made no mention of “the mistakes” in his second Inaugural Address. Other than those two constitutional addresses, Christie’s only public appearances since the press conference in which he took responsibility or the lane closures have been with school kids and sports fans.
While Guadagno came out and emphatically denied Zimmer’s allegations, Christie himself has said and done nothing to fight back against the media feeding frenzy.
Another factor contributing to Christie’s declining national and state poll numbers this month is that other than Justin Bieber’s DWI arrest, nothing has captured the media’s attention like a traffic jam and a zoning application that may or may not involve Chris Christie.
It’s been cold all over the county all month. The phrase “polar vortex” has become part of our lexicon as we stayed indoors for snow days and cold days. America has become enamored with Dowton Abbey and Christie’s potential downfall. Come September, there will be a baby boomlet and Christie will have stronger poll numbers.