New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s poll numbers have continued to drop in New Jersey, a new poll found, with residents becoming more skeptical of his insistence that he knew nothing about the bridge closing scandal.
The Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press poll released Monday found Christie’s job approval rating in New Jersey had dropped nine points to 50 percent, with 44 percent disapproving. In January, Christie’s approval rating was 59 percent, with just 32 percent approving.
In December, before the emails revealing the involvement of Christie’s staff in closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge in September were released, Christie was riding high with 65 percent approval and 25 percent disapproval.
The media hubbub around the bridge closures have died down in recent weeks. Christie flatly denied any involvement or prior knowledge and fired the involved aides.
Still, New Jersey residents have become increasingly convinced that their governor was personally involved in the lane closures. Fifty percent now say they believe he was involved, and 40 percent say they believe he was not involved. In January, when the emails involving his aides first came to light, just 34 percent said they believed he was involved, compared to 52 percent who said he was not involved.
Forty-nine percent of residents said they see the lane closures as “politics as usual” and part of the culture of the Christie administration, while 46 percent point to it as unusual. Last month, only 39 percent said it was “politics as usual,” while a 55 percent majority saw it as unusual.
A majority of voters — 61 percent — believe Christie has “not been completely honest” about what he knew and did not know about the lane closures, compared to only 51 percent who believed that last month. Only 33 percent say they believe he was completely truthful, compared to 40 percent last month.
A big selling for Christie as he heads toward a potential 2016 presidential point has been that he is a hugely popular Republican governor in New Jersey, a blue-leaning state that neighbors the large amounts of fundraising money in New York. His approval rating slipping could undermine that image.
Still, New Jersey residents remain fairly certain that their governor, who is currently traveling the country as the Chairman of the Republican Governors Association, is heading to the big leagues. Sixty-five percent say they believe he will run, down only slightly from 69 percent in December.
Fifty-six percent say they believe Christie is more concerned with that political future than governing New Jersey, whereas in September last year, only 38 percent thought he was more concerned about that, and 44 percent believed he was most focused on governing New Jersey.