His approval rating is still a sky-high 61 percent, but Gov. Chris Christie's popularity doesn't seem like it'll be enough to deliver the Republican-controlled legislature he craves.

New Jersey Statehouse
New Jersey Statehouse (VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm, Getty Images)

Today's Fairleigh Dickinson University-PublicMind poll reveals registered voters are poised to help Democrats retain control of both the State senate and the General Assembly.

Forty-three percent of registered voters say that they will support the Democratic candidate for Assembly in their district, while 36 percent say that they will support the Republican. Democrats hold exactly the same advantage in the race for the State Senate.

"Democrats can expect to hold on to control of Trenton," said Dan Cassino, a professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson and an analyst for the poll. "Voters generally don't know who the state Assembly and Senate candidates are, so they're just voting on party lines. So long as voters continue do so, Democrats are going to do just fine."

A seven point gap might not seem bad for Republicans, but Cassino explained that since PublicMind first began polling voters about the state legislature, the results have been almost unchanged. In 2001, Democrats had a 41 to 36 advantage in the vote for State Assembly. In the last survey before the 2003 election, 42 percent of voters said that they would support Democratic candidates. In 2011, Democrats led 41 to 36. The only recent year that's deviated from this balance was 2007, when 49 percent said that they would support Democrats in their local assembly races.

New Jersey voters are not happy with the national political situation. When asked about the negotiations over the federal budget that led to the recent government shutdown only 38 percent approve of the way President Barack Obama handled negotiations. While these numbers are fairly low, they're still better than for the other players involved in the standoff: only 32 percent approve of the job Congressional Democrats are doing and only 14 percent think Congressional Republicans did a good job.

"New Jersey voters are as frustrated as the rest of the country with how Congress has been acting," said Cassino. "The difference is that voters in New Jersey don't have to wait another year for an election if they want to act on it."

The poll of 1,206 registered voters in New Jersey was conducted by telephone with both landline and cell phones from October 24 through October 30, 2013, and has a margin of error of +/-3.7 percentage points.


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