West Long Branch, N.J. - Gov. Chris Christie has officially thrown his hat into the ring, but his home state of New Jersey is not squarely behind him. The latest Monmouth University Poll , taken after Christie's presidential announcement, found that the governor's negative job ratings have not budged from two months ago. A large majority feels that Christie has abandoned his commitment to the state and few say he is a good fit for the Oval Office.
Just 27% of New Jerseyans say Chris Christie would make a good president. More than two-thirds (69%) say he would not. A few months ago, Christie was asked on national TV about similar poll results. He responded that survey participants told pollsters he would not make a good president because "a lot of those people…want me to stay." Monmouth followed up with the participants in our poll and found that just 5% of those who said he would not make a good president say they gave that response because they would rather have Christie stay in New Jersey. Fully 89% of this group, though, confirmed that their answer meant they really think he would make a bad president.
"I'm not sure how the governor defines 'a lot,' but any common sense usage of the term would have to be significantly greater than five percent," said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Gov. Christie's current job rating stands at 36% approve to 58% disapprove among all New Jersey residents and 34% approve to 60% disapprove among the state's registered voters. These numbers are slightly more negative than a Monmouth University Poll taken two months ago which gave Christie a 35% to 54% rating among all residents and a 35% to 56% rating among voters. Fully 3-in-4 (76%) say he is more concerned about his own political future than he is with governing the state - up from 70% two months ago and 56% last September. Just 17% say he puts New Jersey first.
When Christie declined to run for president four years ago, he said, "I have a commitment to New Jersey that I simply will not abandon." As he embarks on his run for the 2016 nomination, most New Jerseyans (56%) say he has, in fact, abandoned that commitment. Just 35% say he has fulfilled his commitment to the state.
A majority (57%) of Garden State residents say the governor should resign now that he's thrown his hat into the ring, compared to 37% who say he should stay in office. Even more New Jerseyans (71%) feel that Christie cannot run for president and govern New Jersey effectively at the same time. Just 26% say he can do both well.
"Chris Christie may be looking for a new job. Just don't expect his current employer to provide a good reference," said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
The poll also found that New Jerseyans are not likely to be won over by the Christie campaign's "telling it like it is" slogan. Most say the candidate's rhetorical style is more of an attempt to get media attention (57%) than it is straightforward truth-telling (36%). Furthermore, just 36% would describe Christie as honest and trustworthy, while 58% would not.
The Monmouth University Poll also looked at a hypothetical match-up with Hillary Clinton and Christie, should both win their respective party's nominations. Christie trails the Democrat by a 49% to 32% margin among registered voters in the Garden State. This 17 point gap is slightly better than his 23 point losing margin of 53% to 30% from two months ago.
Perhaps more telling is the poll finding that Christie also trails his fellow Republican contenders as a preferred candidate in the GOP field. More New Jersey voters believe Jeb Bush (37%) would make a better president than Chris Christie (29%) and a similar number prefer Marco Rubio (35%) over Christie (26%). Christie is able to draw even with Scott Walker (30% to 29%) when Garden State voters are asked who would make a better president.
The governor is expected to spend the majority of the next six months on the campaign trail accompanied by the New Jersey State Police. Fully four-fifths (82%) of the public feel that Christie's presidential campaign should pick up the tab for his security detail when he is making appearances outside of New Jersey. Just 1% say that state government should swallow the costs and 13% say the costs should be shared.
The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone with 503 New Jersey adults, including 453 registered voters, from June 30 to July 1, 2015. The total sample has a margin of error of ± 4.4 percent and the registered voter sample has a margin of error of ± 4.6 percent. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.
The questions referred to in this release are as follows:
1. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Chris Christie is doing as governor?
2. Do you think Chris Christie is more concerned with governing the state of New Jersey or more concerned about his own political future? [CHOICES WERE ROTATED]
3. As you may know, Chris Christie officially announced that he is running for president. Do you think he would or would not make a good president?
[The following question was asked of those who said CHRISTIE WOULD NOT MAKE A GOOD PRESIDENT: n=335, moe=+/-5.4 %]
4. Do you say that because you would rather have Governor Christie stay in New Jersey or because you really think he would make a bad president?
5. Do you think Chris Christie should or should not resign as governor now that he is running for president?
[QUESTIONS 6 THROUGH 9 WERE ASKED ONLY OF REGISTERED VOTERS: n=453, moe=+/ 4.6%]
6. I know the 2016 presidential election is far away, but if the election for President was today, who would you vote for if the candidates were Chris Christie the Republican and Hillary Clinton the Democrat? [NAMES WERE ROTATED]
On the Republican side,
[QUESTIONS 7 THROUGH 9 WERE ROTATED]
7. Would Chris Christie or Scott Walker make a better president? [NAMES WERE ROTATED]
8. Would Chris Christie or Jeb Bush make a better president? [NAMES WERE ROTATED]
9. Would Chris Christie or Marco Rubio make a better president? [NAMES WERE ROTATED]
[ASKED OF EVERYONE]
10. Do you think Chris Christie is able to run for president and govern New Jersey effectively at the same time, or is he not able to do both effectively?
11. When Chris Christie decided not to run for president back in 2012, he said he had made a commitment to New Jersey that he would not abandon. Looking back over the past four years, do you feel Governor Christie has fulfilled his commitment to New Jersey or has he abandoned his commitment?
12. Would you say Chris Christie is honest and trustworthy or not?
13. Governor Christie said that he will always tell it like it is, even if it is not the popular thing to say or if it sometimes makes people cringe. Do you see these types of statements more as straight forward truth-telling or more as Christie trying to say things designed mainly to get media attention?
14. Who should pay for Governor Christie’s security detail while he is campaigning for president out of state – New Jersey state government or Christie’s campaign, or should the costs be shared?
The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from June 30 to July 1, 2015 with a statewide random sample of 503 adult residents, including 377 contacted via live interview on a landline telephone and 126 via live interview on a cell phone, in English. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey questionnaire design, data weighting and analysis. Final sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information. Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and SSI (RDD sample). For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.
Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups.
Download this Poll Report with all tables