New Jersey governor Chris Christie continues to be dogged by the Bridgegate scandal, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll released today. With the lane closings on the George Washington bridge still hounding the New Jersey governor more than a year and half after they occurred, Christie’s approval ratings have continued to tumble. The poll, taken between April 9 -14, shows that New Jerseyans strongly disapprove of the job he is doing. The survey shows that 56 percent of residents disapprove of the governor’s performance, while 38 percent approve of it. Across the board, the ratings are the lowest that Christie has received in his time in office.
In addition to the overall poor grades, Christie’s rating are similarly low for his handling of the state budget, his trust worthiness, as well as his handling of the state’s economy and educational system. Residents do believe, however, that Christie is a strong leader (63 percent to 33 percent), but they also seem to feel that his presidential ambitions are taking away from his effectiveness as governor.
“The governor’s job approval hits a new low and voters think his presidential ambitions are distracting him from his day job. Besides, they don’t think he’d be a good president,” according to Quinnipiac University Poll Assistant Director Maurice Carroll.
A similar Quinnipiac poll in January showed Christie with a 48 percent disapproval rating, so the latest survey has seen Christie’s popularity erode further. Poll director Carroll indicated that the Bridgegate scandal remains on the front burner with two open investigations, and that last week’s New York Times story about pending indictments continue to make for a “red meat” issue for the public and media alike.
Once rumored to be a top presidential contender, Christie has seen his popularity within the state decrease steadily almost since the day he was re-elected in a landslide over state Senator Barbara Buono in November 2013. While Christie has not yet been personally implicated in the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge, several top aides including Bill Baroni, Bridget Kelly and David Wildstein resigned under pressure, and Christie’s hand picked Port Authority chairman David Samson has come under close scrutiny in his role at the agency.
Samson may be the most vulnerable of the Christie appointees to face federal charges, ironically not for the lane closures, but rather in his role at the Port Authority, according to the New York Times. “Perhaps the most potent issue is whether Mr. Samson pressured United Airlines, as part of its negotiations regarding service at Newark Liberty International Airport, to reinstate a once-weekly flight to the airport closest to his weekend home in South Carolina. That flight was canceled after Mr. Samson resigned in March 2014; investigators have subpoenaed both the authority and the airline.”