October 19, 2016
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is widely disliked by the very people who voted him in, according to a new poll released Wednesday.
The survey from Farleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind found that 21 percent of registered voters said they approve of Christie while 72 percent said they disapprove – a record for the poll. In June, 26 percent said they approved of the governor.
Voters said that the state's gas tax increase and the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal were main sources for their dislike, the poll found.
On Oct. 14, Christie signed into law a plan that boosts the state's gas tax by 23 cents per gallon in an effort to fund transportation and infrastructure. Once the new law takes effect Nov. 1, New Jersey will have the seventh-highest gas tax in the country, where it once had one of the lowest.
“Apparently we’ve not yet found the floor for the governor’s approval among voters in the state," Krista Jenkins, professor of political science and director of PublicMind, said in a news release. "The recent gas tax increase that the governor supported no doubt caused some in his party to turn against him, even though he sought to reduce taxes in other areas in order to offset the increase at the pump."
The poll, which surveyed 848 voters between Oct. 12-16 via telephone, also found that Christie's low ranking impacted how voters thought the state was doing as a whole. Seventy-one percent of people surveyed said they think New Jersey is headed "down the wrong track," while 20 percent said it's heading in the right direction.
The poll also found that 52 percent believe that Christie knew about the closures in the state's Bridgegate scandal and didn't do anything to prevent the incident from happening while 36 percent think that "sufficient proof does not exist."
Christie has contended that he had no knowledge of the lane closures, though it's speculated that Christie and his aides closed two lanes of the bridge in order to seek revenge against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat who didn't support Christie during his 2013 re-election.
While approval may be down, the majority of voters believe that Christie shouldn't be impeached – only 39 percent said that he should leave office.
“The Bridgegate trial and its fallout is clearly hurting the governor," Jenkins said. "With both sides arguing that the governor was aware of the political retaliation plan, voters are having a hard time coming up with reasons to believe his claims of innocence."
A poll conducted by Rutgers University in September found that 23 percent of registered voters favored Christie.
Neither poll made any mention of Christie's relationship with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Since dropping out of the race himself, Christie has maintained support for the candidate. Other GOP candidates have denounced Trump after he was heard making lewd comments about kissing and groping women in a leaked, decade-old video.