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Monmouth University Polling Institute

New Jersey Unfazed by “Christie 2016”

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New Jerseyans still unsure of succession if governor resigns to run

New Jerseyans fully expect that Governor Chris Christie is ready to throw his hat in the ring for 2016, according to the Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll .  Few residents are bothered by the possibility of a presidential run, even if the governor resigned to do it.  Christie could potentially make the Garden State competitive if he faces off against Hillary Clinton in 2016 and has even more potential to turn New Jersey into a "red state" against Andrew Cuomo.

Even though Chris Christie has yet to take the oath of office for a second term, nearly 7-in-10 New Jerseyans (69%) believe that their governor is already planning to run for president in 2016.  This includes 71% of Democrats, 70% of Republicans, and 65% of independents.

Even though a presidential campaign would require Christie to spend a great deal of time out of state, 67% of New Jerseyans wouldn't be particularly bothered if Christie ran.  Just 19% say it would bother them a lot and 10% would be bothered a little.  Democrats (39%) are more likely than independents (26%) and Republicans (22%) to be bothered at least a little by the prospect of a Christie presidential campaign while still governor of New Jersey.

Speculation has swirled about whether Christie would need to resign as governor in order to raise the money necessary to make that run.  New Jersey doesn't care.  Fully 69% say they would not be upset if Christie resigned his office in order to pursue the White House.  Just 16% would be bothered a lot by his resignation and 13% would be bothered a little.  Independents (35%) and Democrats (29%) are slightly more likely than Republicans (22%) to be upset if Christie resigned as governor in order to run for president.

"New Jersey is fairly united on this one:  Run, Christie, run!" said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Chris Christie could put New Jersey in play if he is able to win the GOP nomination and then faces off against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.  In a hypothetical 2016 match-up, 46% of New Jersey voters say they would support Christie to 43% who would vote for Clinton.  Christie garners support from 83% of Republican voters, 51% of independents, and 19% of Democrats.

Christie would have an easier time against his fellow governor from neighboring New York, Andrew Cuomo.  In this contest, Christie has the support of 52% of New Jersey voters to 33% for Cuomo.  Christie wins 85% of Republicans, 58% of independents, and 27% of Democrats in this hypothetical match-up.

It's not clear whether New Jerseyans believe that Gov. Christie can win the White House, though, since 58% expect that he will serve out his full term as governor.  Only 33% of Garden State residents believe that he will resign before his term ends.  "However, these New Jerseyans may only be considering whether Christie will decide to resign by choice rather than political fortune," said Murray.

If Christie does resign, only 40% of New Jerseyans recall that the state has an elected Lieutenant Governor to take his place.  Another 3% still believe the Senate President takes over.  Fully 50% admit they do not know how gubernatorial succession works in New Jersey.  These numbers are not much changed from two years ago.  In fact they are slightly worse.  In October 2011, 44% could identify the Lieutenant Governor's office in the line of succession.

After nearly four years on the job, only 1-in-5 Garden State residents (21%) can name Kim Guadagno as the LG incumbent.  Another 26% recognize her name when it is read to them and 53% say they haven't heard of her.  These numbers are basically unchanged from two years ago when 20% could name Guadagno and 24% recognized her name when it was read to them.  Few New Jerseyans have formed an opinion of Guadagno, with 9% holding a favorable view and 3% an unfavorable one, which is also similar to two years ago.    

The Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll  was conducted by telephone with 802 New Jersey adults from December 4 to 8, 2013.  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 think Chris Christie is planning to run for president in 2016, or not?

2.     Do you think Chris Christie will serve out his full term as governor, or do you think he will resign before the end of his term?

[Question 3 was asked of a random half-sample: moe=+/-4.9%]

3.     Would it bother you or not bother you if Chris Christie ran for president while serving as Governor?  [Would it bother you a lot or just a little?]

[Question 4 was asked of a random half-sample: moe=+/-4.9%]

4.     Would it bother you or not bother you if Chris Christie resigned as governor in order to run for president?  [Would it bother you a lot or just a little?]

[QUESTIONS 5 AND 6 WERE ROTATED AND ASKED OF REGISTERED VOTERS ONLY: moe=+/-3.7%]

I know the 2016 presidential election is far away, but if the election for President was today…

5.     Who would you vote for if the candidates were [NAMES WERE ROTATED] Chris Christie the Republican and Hillary Clinton the Democrat?

6.     Who would you vote for if the candidates were [NAMES WERE ROTATED] Chris Christie the Republican and Andrew Cuomo the Democrat?

7.     In New Jersey, when a sitting governor resigns or dies in office, who becomes governor?  [LIST WAS NOT READ]

8.     New Jersey’s lieutenant governor takes over.  Do you happen to know who is the lieutenant governor now? [If NO: The lieutenant governor is Kim Guadagno. Have you heard of her before, or not?]

9.     Do you have a favorable or unfavorable view of lieutenant governor Kim Guadagno, or don’t you really have an opinion about her?                 

The Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from December 4 to 8, 2013 with a statewide random sample of 802 adult residents, including 602 contacted via live interview on a landline telephone and 200 via live interview on a cell phone.  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.

Download this Poll Report with all tables

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- Monmouth University Polling Institute