54% of New Jersey voters approve of the job Governor Chris Christie is doing while 34% disapprove and 12% are mixed or just not sure according to a statewide survey released today by Fairleigh Dickinson University's Public-Mind.

Half of voters (50%) rate the job Christie has been doing as "good" or "excellent."

Voters also think things in the state are getting better: 51% say the state is 'headed in the right direction,' while 39% say it's 'on the wrong track.' That number has real significance says poll director Peter Woolley.

Woolley explains, "This is the first time in 10 years of measurements that more than half of New Jersey voters, say things are headed in the right direction…… We're a tough crowd in Jersey. We're not naturally sunny. So if we think things are on the right track, it's not Snooki's impending wedding that's doing it for us." The measurements span four governors: Jim McGreevey, Dick Codey, Jon Corzine and Christie.

You might be wondering if the poll is weighted with more Republicans taking part than Democrats, but Woolley says the opposite is actually true. In this poll, 49% of the respondents identified themselves as either Democrats or leaning toward the Democratic Party. 33% identify themselves either as Republicans or leaning toward the Republican Party. That's a 16-point margin favoring Democrats and still Christie has a 20-point margin of approvals over disapprovals.

There is a gender gap in Christie's approval numbers. Men approve of Christie's performance by a hearty two-to-one margin, (62-27). Women are not quite as enthusiastic, but give the Governor a six point edge (46-40).

As one might expect, Democrats are more likely to disapprove (52%) than approve (30%) but Independents and Republicans are all thumbs up (60-27 and 85-9). The only group, other than Democrats, that is not happy are public employee households and that shouldn't surprise anyone either. They disapprove of the Governor's performance by a five to four edge (39-50), while other households approve by a two-to-one margin (59-28).

"I expect that when the budget battles heat up with the coming of spring, the Governor's numbers will take a hit," predicts Woolley. "That has been the pattern in the first two years of his tenure. But right now, he's riding high."

One of Christie's major budget proposals is a 10% state income tax cut across the board, phased in over three years. Voters were asked about that as well. 44% say the state should proceed with the cut 'even if spending for many programs is reduced,' but 42% say the state should not cut income taxes and 'should fully fund state programs.' Republicans and independents endorse the tax cut (63-27 and 52-31 respectively). Democrats prefer fully funding state programs, and forgoing the cut (55-30).

The poll of 800 registered voters statewide was conducted by telephone with both landlines and cell phones from Mar. 5 through Mar. 11, 2012, and has a margin of error of +/-3.5 percentage points.