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47% in New Jersey Now Less Likely to Vote for Christie for President

Thursday, April 03, 2014

The good news for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is that the first major probe of the so-called Bridgegate scandal has found him innocent of wrongdoing. The bad news is that New Jersey voters view him more unfavorably now than they did when the scandal first broke and are even less likely to vote for him as president.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely New Jersey Voters finds that 61% think it’s at least somewhat likely that Christie was aware at the time that traffic lanes onto the George Washington Bridge were being closed as retaliation against the mayor of Fort Lee for refusing to support Christie’s reelection. This includes 37% who say it is Very Likely. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

That compares to 54% who thought it was likely in early January, with 30% who said it was Very Likely.

Forty-seven percent (47%) now say they are less likely to vote for Christie to be president in 2016 because of the Fort Lee incident, up from 39% three months ago. Eleven percent (11%) are more likely to vote for him in 2016, but that’s down from 14% in the earlier survey.

Perceptions of Christie’s job performance have suffered as well. In January, 60% approved of the job he was doing as governor, with 29% who Strongly Approved. Now 50% approve, with 22% who Strongly Approve.

Thirty percent (30%) of Garden State voters consider Christie less ethical than most politicians, compared to 21% who felt that way three months ago. Twenty-two percent (22%) say he’s more ethical than his political peers, down from 33% in January, while 43% say he’s about as ethical as any other elected official.

Forty-eight percent (48%) view Christie favorably, while 51% share an unfavorable opinion of him.  This includes 21% with a Very Favorable view of the embattled governor and 32% with a Very Unfavorable one. In January, his favorables were 55%, his unfavorables 44%, including Very Favorables of 29% and Very Unfavorables of 22%.

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The survey of 750 Likely Voters in New Jersey was conducted on March 31-April 1, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Largely unchanged from the earlier survey are the 58% of New Jersey voters who say Christie should resign if it is proven that he approved of retaliation against an elected official who refused to support him and the 75% who think it’s likely that some members of Christie’s staff retaliated against other political officials who refused to support his reelection.

Seventy-seven percent (77%) still think staffers who ordered the traffic lane closures as political retaliation should be fired. Forty-two percent (42%) say they should be criminally prosecuted. Both of these findings are down slightly from three months ago.

When it comes to Christie, who is seen as a leading contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, it’s not surprising that there are sharp partisan differences of opinion.

Sixty-seven percent (67%) of New Jersey Democrats say they are less likely to vote for him as president in 2016 because of the Bridgegate scandal, but just 26% of Republicans feel that way. Nearly as many GOP voters (23%) in the state say they are more likely to vote for him in 2016. Among voters not affiliated with either major party, 41% are less likely to vote for Christie now, but 46% say the scandal will have no impact on their vote. Still, this marks slightly less support for Christie among Republicans and unaffiliateds than he earned in January.

Seventy-four percent (74%) of Republicans in New Jersey and 55% of the state’s unaffiliated voters approve of the job Christie is doing as governor. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Democrats disapprove.

Forty-six percent (46%) of New Jersey Republicans say Christie is more ethical than most politicians. Forty-eight percent (48%) of the state’s Democrats say he is less ethical. A plurality (48%) of unaffiliated voters thinks his ethics are about the same as most other politicians.

If it’s proven that Christie approved of the retaliation against an elected official who refused to support him, 70% of Garden State Democrats and 57% of unaffiliateds think he should resign. Just 41% of Republicans agree.

Among likely voters nationwide, 48% said in early January that they would be less likely to vote for Christie in 2016 if it is proven that his office retaliated against an official who refused to support him. Predictably, most Democrats (53%) said they would be less likely to vote for Christie, but nearly as many Republicans (45%) and unaffiliated voters (46%) felt the same way.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown is available to Platinum Members only.

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