[March 05, 2014]NEW YORK (Reuters) — New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, whose
popularity with voters in his home states has already taken a hit over a
traffic jam scandal, has also lost some of the goodwill he earned for
his response to Superstorm Sandy in 2012, according to a poll released
In January, accusations surfaced that Christies's aides had tied
storm assistance to a political favor.
Those accusations, along with the traffic jam scandal, have taken a
toll on state residents' impression of Christies's handling of the
devastating storm, with just 54 percent of New Jersey voters now
saying they approved of his efforts after Sandy, a 26 point drop
from November, with 36 percent saying they disapprove, the
Rutgers-Eagleton poll found.
Christie has been considered a leading 2016 Republican White House
contender after being widely applauded for putting politics aside
after the storm laid waste to the state's shoreline.
"These new numbers are a far cry from the nearly unanimous praise
the governor had received for post-Sandy leadership," said David
Redlawsk, the poll's director and professor of political science at
"The decline in Sandy approval has returned Christie to the
pre-Sandy status quo, when about half of voters supported him and
the other half did not or was unsure," Redlawsk said.
E-mails released earlier this year revealed that top aides to
Christie had ordered a massive traffic snarl near the busy George
Washington Bridge last September, apparently to punish a Democratic
mayor who had declined to endorse Christie's bid for re-election.
Christie has said he was blindsided by the revelations, and he fired
the aides connected to the scandal.
Shortly after the so-called Bridgegate scandal broke, Hoboken Mayor
Dawn Zimmer went public with accusations that Lieutenant Governor
Kim Guadagno warned her that Christie would withhold Sandy recovery
funding if Zimmer did not support a development project in her city.
Guadagno has called the accusations false and illogical.
Redlawsk noted that satisfaction with Christie's Sandy performance
was once so strong that even those who otherwise did not give
Christie high marks were supportive.
In January, more than half of voters who disapproved of Christie's
job performance took a favorable view of his Sandy response. Now,
about two-thirds of voters who disapprove of Christie's performance
generally also disapprove of his response to Sandy.
Despite the shift, most New Jersey voters are still behind the
governor. Nearly 90 percent of those who voted for Christie last
November said they would vote for him as governor again if they had
Christie's overall job approval has remained stable, with 55 percent
of voters saying they approve and 39 percent saying they disapprove,
the poll found. Six weeks ago, 53 percent said they approved of his
job performance and 41 percent did not.
Nearly half of voters said they believe the administration withheld
Sandy aid from some mayors in retaliation for not receiving their
The survey of 842 New Jersey adults had a margin of error of plus or
minus 3.7 percentage points and was conducted from February 22-28. A
sub-sample of 729 registered voters had a margin of error of plus or
minus 3.8 percentage points.
(Reporting By Edith Honan; editing by Scott Malone and Leslie Adler)