His popularity is still off the charts, particularly for a Republican Governor in New Jersey and a comfortable majority of Garden State voters think Chris Christie deserves to be re-elected.

Governor Chris Christie talks at the State House in Trenton (Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)

Today's Quinnipiac University poll also reveals that State Senator Barbara Buono, Christie's Democratic challenger in this year's gubernatorial race is still largely unknown and is not gaining any real ground on the incumbent.

Voters give Christie a 58 - 26 percent lead over Buono. This compares to a 60 - 25 percent lead in March. The Governor leads 55 - 27 percent among women, 63 - 25 percent among men, 92 - 3 percent among Republicans and 64 - 18 percent among independent voters. Buono leads 52 - 30 percent among Democrats.

Garden State voters approve of the job Christie is doing, 67 - 24 percent and say 66 - 26 percent that he deserves reelection. By a 66 - 24 percent margin, voters have a favorable opinion of him. Almost eight-in-ten (78 percent) still don't know enough about Buono to form an opinion, compared to 79 percent last month.

"She's running an energetic campaign, piling up endorsements, but State Sen. Barbara Buono, who wants to be New Jersey's next governor, hasn't been able to introduce herself yet to New Jersey voters," says Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "There's some cheer for Democrats: Voters say 45 - 38 percent, they want the Democrats to maintain control of the State Legislature."

Most Jerseyans Are Pretty Happy People

A total of 59 percent of New Jersey voters are 'very satisfied' or 'somewhat satisfied' with the way things are going in the state today, while 40 percent are 'somewhat dissatisfied' or 'very dissatisfied.'

"Happiness helps incumbents," says Carroll. "New Jerseyans like the way things are going and they like Gov. Christie."

Top Campaign Issues

The survey also asks voters to identify the top campaign issues for them this year. Jobs will be 'very important' in their vote for Governor, 83 percent of New Jersey voters say, while 15 percent say 'somewhat important.' Other 'very important' issues are:

  • Government spending - 74 percent "very important"
  • Property taxes - 73 percent
  • Schools - 70 percent
  • Hurricane Sandy recovery - 57 percent
  • Millionaires' Tax - 47 percent
  • Minimum wage - 47 percent
  • Same-sex marriage - 30 percent

"It's a New Jersey specialty," explains Carroll. "Property taxes are set locally, not in Trenton, but they're a big concern in the statewide campaign for governor. Voters also cite jobs, schools and government spending."

From April 19-22, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,112 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points. Live interviewers called land lines and cell phones.