Governor Chris Christie's public job approval rating remains above 50 percent, even though the third budget of his term hasn't generated strong support. The latest Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll also found that Garden State residents give a big thumbs up to their governor being the keynote speaker at next month's GOP convention.
Currently, Governor Christie earns a 52% approve to 36% disapprove job rating among all Garden State residents. Among registered voters, his rating stands at 53% approve to 35% disapprove. The governor's positive ratings among Garden State voters have consistently ranged between 50% and 55% since last August. Christie earns a strong 82% approve to 10% disapprove rating among his fellow Republicans and a 57% to 31% rating among New Jersey independents. Democrats continue to disapprove, though, by a negative 60% to 26% margin.
Published reports last week suggested that Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for President, would offer Chris Christie the coveted keynote speaker slot at the party's nominating convention. New Jersey voters strongly endorse giving their governor this high profile position, with 61% who say it is a good idea to just 24% who say it is a bad one. Even Garden State Democrats (49%) are more likely to see it as a good rather than bad idea, joining 62% of independents and 82% of Republicans in their endorsement of a Christie keynote.
"Governor Christie as the GOP keynote speaker is a slam dunk, at least as far as his current constituents are concerned," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Overall, 42% of New Jerseyans think that Chris Christie helps the national Republican Party's image compared to just 14% who say he hurts the GOP brand. Another 37% say he has no impact on the party's image. Among Garden State Republicans, 67% say Christie helps their party's image compared to just 7% who say he hurts it.
If the governor does take the stage in Tampa, he will almost certainly talk about his success at promoting bipartisanship at home. His current constituents may have a different take on that, though. Only 31% of New Jerseyans say that Christie and Democratic leaders have been working well together. A majority (53%) say they have not. When asked who is to blame for the discord, 58% blame both sides equally, 24% lay the blame on Christie and 15% say it is the Democrats' fault. These findings have been fairly consistent in polls going back to the first year of Christie's term.
"The governor can certainly claim some key wins with the Democratic legislature since he took office. But he has also suffered some stinging partisan defeats recently, such as the hold-up of his tax cut plan and the unprecedented rejection of two Supreme Court nominees," said Murray.
Regardless of the partisan bickering at home, 41% of state residents say their governor helps New Jersey's image around the country, while 29% say he hurts it. Another 25% say he has no impact on the state's reputation.
Governor Christie recently signed the third budget of his term. Among the 7-in-10 New Jerseyans who followed the budget process at least a little, few have strong feelings about it. Just 18% say they are satisfied with the budget and 24% are dissatisfied. The majority (53%) say they aren't particularly satisfied, but they can live with it. These sentiments are very similar to opinion on the governor's first budget in 2010 when it was 16% satisfied, 30% dissatisfied, and 51% could live with it.
The poll also found that 73% of residents are aware that no deal was reached on a proposed tax cut. Most of these residents (54%) place responsibility for the lack of agreement on both the governor and legislative Democrats equally. Another 22% blame the Democrats more and a similar 19% blame Christie more.
Among all residents, though, 54% say that it is better to see if enough revenues come in to support a tax cut first while 37% say it is better to pass a tax cut now. A majority of Democrats (64%) and independents (54%) prefer a wait and see approach. Republicans (53%) prefer to make the cuts now. Among those who had heard at least something about the negotiations, 51% say it is better to wait. This number is higher (64%) among residents who were not following the news about the tax cut debate. [ Note: the poll question did not attach either of these positions to Christie or legislative Democrats, suggesting that knowledge of the governor's position may serve to increase public support for an immediate cut. ]
The poll also found that the state legislature's job rating is still under water, at 35% approve to 43% disapprove. The approval number has ranged between 35% and 38% over the past year, while the disapproval number has ranged between 38% and 47%.
The Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll was conducted by telephone with 803 New Jersey adults from July 18 to 22, 2012. This sample has a margin of error of ± 3.5 percent. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute and originally published by the Asbury Park Press and its sister publications (Courier-Post, Courier News, Daily Journal, Daily Record, and Home News Tribune).
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 approve or disapprove of the job the state legislature is doing?
3. How much have you heard or read about the state budget Governor Christie signed last month – a lot, a little, or nothing at all?
[The following question was asked only of people who have heard at least a little about the state budget: moe=+/-4.0%]
4. How would you describe your reaction to the budget – would you say you are satisfied with it, not particularly satisfied but you can live with it, or you are definitely dissatisfied with it?
5. In general, have Governor Christie and Democratic leaders in the legislature been working together well or not so well?
[The following question was asked only of those who said “Not so well” to Q5, moe=+/-4.5%]
6. Who is more to blame for this – Christie, the Democrats, or both equally?
7. Governor Christie and the Democratic legislature have been unable to agree on a tax cut plan. Have you heard a lot, a little, or nothing at all about this?
[The following question was asked only of people who said at least a little in Q7: moe=+/-4.0%]
8. Who is more responsible for the lack of agreement on a plan – Christie, the Democrats, or both equally?
9. Do you think it would be better to pass a tax cut now or better to wait to see if enough revenues come in to support it?
10. Thinking nationally, does Chris Christie help or hurt New Jersey’s image around the country, or does he make no difference to the state’s image?
11. Does Chris Christie help or hurt the national Republican Party’s image, or does he make no difference to the party’s image?
12. Do you think having Chris Christie as the keynote speaker at the Republican convention next month is a good idea or bad idea?
The Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute on July 18 to 22, 2012 with a statewide random sample of 803 adult residents, including 603 contacted on a landline telephone and 200 on a cell phone. Live interviewing services were provided by Braun Research, Inc. and the telephone sample was obtained from Survey Sampling International. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey questionnaire design, data weighting and analysis. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Sampling error increases as the sample size decreases, so statements based on various population subgroups, such as separate figures reported by gender or party identification, are subject to more error than are statements based on the total sample. 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.
It is the Monmouth University Polling Institute’s policy to conduct surveys of all adult New Jersey residents, including voters and non-voters, on issues that affect the state. Specific voter surveys are conducted when appropriate during election cycles.
Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups.
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