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Poll: Christie's Ratings Worst Ever, Booker Rises

Chris Christie (CLIFFVIEW PILOT file photo), Cory Booker (act.corybooker.com)
Chris Christie (CLIFFVIEW PILOT file photo), Cory Booker (act.corybooker.com) Photo Credit: CLIFFVIEW PILOT file photo / act.corybooker.com

As Gov. Chris Christie’s top pick for president, Donald Trump, continues to climb in the polls, the governor’s own ratings have dropped to their lowest ever, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.

At the same time, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker's popularity continues to grow.

Only 26% of New Jersey registered voters now have a favorable opinion of Christie – down three points since February -- the poll reports.

Sixty-four percent are unfavorable toward the governor, up five points since February and now at its highest point yet since Christie first took office.

The governor's unpopularity "stems from the same longstanding reasons that voters have cited in both their praise and condemnation of him throughout his tenure – reasons that disenchanted voters emphasize now more than ever two months after Christie’s return to governing full time,” said Ashley Koning, assistant director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP) at Rutgers University.

“Not even Christie’s backing of Donald Trump has helped him with New Jersey Republicans, who give Trump higher ratings than Christie and are now more likely than ever to vote for Trump come June,” Koning said.

When voters are asked to justify their ratings on the governor, favorable and unfavorable voters alike point to Christie’s character, his overall job as governor, and his honesty (or lack thereof).

Among those favorable, 35% like him because of the overall job he is doing, 16% mention something about him being honest and trustworthy, 13% point to his character and attitude, and 11% reference his policy decisions.

Among those unfavorable toward him, 15% point to his character, personality, or attitude as the main reason behind their negative rating; another 7% specifically refer to his confrontational style.

An additional 15% of the unfavorables cite Christie’s overall job as governor and governing style. Fourteen percent say he is dishonest and untrustworthy.

Christie’s overall job approval has dropped six points (to 31%), while those disapproving have increased by three points (63%).

He's also hit new lows on Superstorm Sandy recovery (43% for / 47% agains) and education (31% approve, 60% disapprove).

New Jersey voters also remain mostly negative about the state’s overall direction: 31% continue it's headed in the right direction, while 60% say the state has gone off on the wrong track (About six in 10 voters have consistently said the state is off on the wrong track since April 2015).

Christie’s favorability continues to drop among his own party base: 56% of Republicans feel favorable toward the governor, a seven-point decline since last polled two months earlier. Meanwhile, 34% say they are unfavorable.

Voters are kinder in their ratings to U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez -- despite a federal indictment.

While only 29% are favorable toward the senior senator, just 32% are outright unfavorable and 39% have no opinion.

Voters are most positive toward U.S. Sen. Cory Booker: 48% are favorable toward the Franklin Lakes native, while 23% are unfavorable and another 30% have no opinion.

Sixty-four percent of Democrats, 47% of independents -- and even 26% of Republicans -- all like Booker.

Results are from a statewide poll of 886 adults contacted by live callers on both landlines and cell phones from April 1 to 8, 2016, including 738 registered voters. Interviews were done in English and, when requested, Spanish.

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