Poll: NJ Gov. Christie’s credibility is casualty of Bridgegate scandal

THE LONG RUN: Gov. Chris Christie’s fate may depend on the outcomes of investigations beyond his direct control — particularly the ongoing probes by the U.S. attorney’s office and a state legislative panel.

By Mark Lagerkvist | New Jersey Watchdog

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s credibility may be the biggest casualty of the Bridgegate scandal, according to a new Rutgers-Eagleton public opinion poll.

Almost half, or 49 percent, of the registered voters surveyed said they do not at all believe Christie’s explanation about the lane closures at the George Washington Bridge. Only 23 percent fully believed the governor.

Sixty-three percent of those polled doubted the objectivity of the investigation commissioned by the governor’s office exonerating Christie — twice as many as the 31 percent who saw the internal probe as fair.

While many voters may not believe him, Christie remains a popular governor.

  • 55 percent approve of Christie’s performance in office compared with 41 percent who disapprove.
  • 50 percent have a favorable impression of Christie versus 42 percent who do not view him favorably.

“What’s going on here is that the job approval ratings are about more than Bridgegate,” poll director David Redlawsk told New Jersey Watchdog. “He’s still benefitting from the base of support from his first four years in office.”

Redlawsk said the numbers indicate Christie has lost much of the bi-partisan support he relied upon to govern during his first term.

“He’s seen significant erosion from Democrats and independents,” Redlawsk said. “Republicans are still quite enthusiastic about him.”

Polls are momentary by their nature. In the long run, Christie’s fate may depend on the outcomes of investigations beyond his direct control — particularly the ongoing probes by the U.S. attorney’s office and a state legislative panel.

Also at stake is Christie’s presidential ambition — and the likelihood he will run for the White House in the 2016 election.

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The Rutgers-Eagleton Poll was conducted by telephone using live callers March 31-April 6, 2014 with a scientifically selected random sample of 816 New Jersey adults, including 731 registered voters. This telephone poll included 576 landline and 240 cell phone adults, all acquired through random digit dialing. In this poll, the sampling error for the 816 adults is plus or minus 3.9 percentage points. The sampling error for 731 registered voters is plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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