NJ Gov. Chris Christie’s poll numbers dip slightly

As Governor Chris Christie nears the end of his first year as governor of New Jersey, two polls released Monday show that his approval rating has dipped slightly in the last month.

One of the polls, from Quinnipiac, shows Christie with a 46 percent job approval rating, down from 51 percent last month. Forty-four percent disapprove. When asked about Christie’s education reform efforts, the poll revealed that 49 percent disapprove.

The other poll, from Rutgers-Eagleton, shows that while 39 percent rate Christie’s job performance as being “excellent” or “good,” 26 percent rate his job performance as just “fair.” Twenty-eight percent said he was doing a “poor” job.

Among independents, 52 percent rated Christie’s performance as either fair or poor. Democrats, not surprisingly, overwhelmingly disapprove of the governor’s job performance, with 76 percent saying he is doing a fair or poor job.

The group that shows the most favorability toward Christie in the poll is Republicans that are sympathetic with the Tea Party movement. Among those, 80 percent rated the governor favorably.

The Quinnipiac poll also found that even Christie’s supporters are skeptical as to whether he would make a good president, with only 50 percent of Republicans saying that he would. Only 25 percent of all voters said Christie would make a good president.

Christie’s term so far has been a contentious one. He has taken on the teachers’ union, the Democratic state legislature, and the state Supreme Court. Rumors have circulated that Christie might be eying a presidential run in 2012, but Christie has shot those down, repeatedly saying he has no intention of making such a run.

To put Christie’s numbers in perspective, the Rutgers-Eagleton report pointed out that when compared to governors since 1974, Christie’s numbers are better or similar to most other New Jersey governors at this point in their first term. It also suggested that early polling isn’t necessarily a good predictor of how the rest of a governor’s term will go.

Two recent New Jersey governors  – Christine Todd Whittman and Jon Corzine – started with very positive numbers. Whitman barely won her bid for re-election while Corzine was defeated in his quest for a second term.