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Christie Deserves Re-Election, According To New Poll [AUDIO]

Governor Christie has officially thrown his hat into the ring for 2013 and if the vote were to take place today, he’d be sitting pretty to say the very least.

Governor Chris Christie
Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen

That’s one of the findings in today’s Monmouth University-Asbury Park Press poll. The survey also reveals that despite his popularity, Christie has some work to do on the state’s #1 issue.

61% registered voters say Christie deserves a second term, up from 50% in a September poll. By a 2 to 1 margin, residents say that the Governor is more focused on governing the state of New Jersey (61%) than he is with his own political future (30%). This is a reversal from February of this year, when more residents said the governor put his own concerns (48%) before the state’s (39%).

Poll director Patrick Murray says, “While the Governor’s political ambitions are no secret, his constituents feel they do not necessarily detract from pursuing what is best for the state, especially when it comes to recovering from Sandy.”

Overall, the Christie administration gets very high marks for its handling of Sandy. 61% of New Jerseyans grade these efforts an “A” and 24% give them a “B.” Another 7% give a “C” grade and few give a “D” (3%) or “F” (3%).

The Sandy recovery certainly weighs on New Jerseyans’ minds, but it is not the only issue facing the state. When asked to name, in their own words, New Jersey’s one or two most important issues, residents put property taxes (31%), jobs (30%), and storm recovery (23%) at the top of the list. The economy (19%), education (10%), and health care (8%) are also mentioned by about 1-in-10 residents or more. In a poll conducted earlier this year, property taxes (42%) and jobs (42%) tied for first, with education (20%) and general economic concerns (19%) placing behind.

On the issue of property taxes, more residents still give Christie a “D” (15%) or “F” (17%) than award him an “A” (7%) or “B” (23%). The 30% positive grades are basically unchanged from 28% in April, although the negative grades are down by 5 points.

“Sandy has put its mark on the kickoff for next year’s gubernatorial race,” explains Murray. “The question is which issue will be most important to voters eleven months from now.”

New Jerseyans remain pessimistic about property tax reform. Only 39% believe it is likely that they will see significantly lower taxes in the next few years, which is slightly higher than the 35% who felt that way over a year ago (August 2011) but lower than the 49% who felt optimistic about property taxes in July 2010. To Christie’s advantage, most do not blame him for the current situation. When asked who is most responsible for not bringing down property taxes, 32% of residents select the state legislature.This is nearly twice as many as those who place the lion’s share of the blame on municipal governments (18%), the governor (17%), or local school districts (15%).

All in all, more than 4-in-10 (42%) New Jerseyans say the governor can lay claim to major accomplishments in his term so far. This is up from 31% who said the same in September and 24% who felt that way over a year ago (August 2011). Another 41% say the governor can point to minor accomplishments, and just 11% say he has no accomplishments to date.

The survey was conducted by telephone with 816 New Jersey adults from November 29 to December 2, 2012 with a margin of error of + 3.4 percent.

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