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Poll: NJ Not Happy With State’s Direction [POLL/AUDIO]

Gov. Chris Christie is still riding high in the eyes of Garden State voters, but they’re losing faith in the state’s direction and many blame Christie according to a new Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll.

Gov. Chris Christie
Gov. Chris Christie (Tim Larsen, Governor’s Office – via Facebook)

“In our June poll, 61 percent gave him (Christie) a positive rating,” said Krista Jenkins, director of PublicMind. “Today that number remains virtually unchanged at 58 percent. What has dropped a bit are perceptions of how things are going in the state. Back in June we found 57 percent said the state was headed in the right direction, but today that number has dropped to 49 percent.”

The number of voters who think the state is on the wrong track is on the rise. In June, 28 percent were concerned and now that number is 34 percent. It’s not just Democrats who are expressing more dissatisfaction. In June, three-quarters of Republicans said the state was headed in the right direction, and today that number has dropped to 67 percent.

“When asked how much of the state’s health can be attributed to Gov. Christie, half say ‘a lot’ including equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans,” explained Jenkins. “Clearly the public believes the old saying ‘the buck stops here’ applies to Gov. Christie’s leadership. This belief makes it difficult to fault legislative inaction or other usual suspects for a perceived decline in the state’s overall health.”

Men are slightly less likely than women to credit or blame the governor for much of the responsibility for the state’s health.

Many people remember that during his 1980 presidential debate with Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan famously asked voters, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” If Christie were to ask that question today, he might not be thrilled with the answer.

“Sixty-four percent say their quality of life is about the same today as it was when he first became Governor,” said Jenkins. “Eleven percent say things are better for them and 21 percent say life has become a little more difficult.”

Speculation is already swirling about a possible 2016 presidential bid for Christie. Do New Jersey voters think he’d be a good commander-in-chief? Opinion is mixed.

The survey reveals that about equal numbers would say yes (35 percent), no (32 percent), or that they’re not sure (34 percent). Christie does attract support from sizable numbers of those who don’t identify themselves as Republicans. Almost one-in-five Democrats and two-in-five political independents would recommend his leadership to a friend from another state.

The poll of 700 registered voters in New Jersey was conducted by telephone with both landline and cell phones from August 21 through August 27, 2013, and has a margin of error of +/-3.7 percentage points.

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