Has Chris Christie turned his back on New Jersey?
The majority of New Jersey residents are not happy with the job Chris Christie is doing as governor and an overwhelming number of Garden Staters felt he has abandoned his home state.
Those are just two of the findings in the latest Monmouth University poll released Thursday morning and conducted after Christie formally launched his presidential campaign on Tuesday.
"Seventy-six percent of New Jerseyans say he is more concerned with his political future than he is with governing the state. Just 17 percent say he puts New Jersey first," said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Almost 7-in-10 (69 percent) said Christie would not make a good president while 27 percent said he would. Those numbers are similar to figures from a few months ago. Christie made headlines when he explained the negative ratings by saying they indicated New Jersey residents wanted him to stay as their governor.
"We found that that's not true," Murray said. "We actually asked people and only five percent said that they were saying that he wouldn't make a good president because they wanted to keep him home. The vast majority (89 percent) say he would really make a bad president."
Among all residents surveyed, 36 percent approve of the job Christie is doing as governor while 58 percent disapprove. Among registered voters, 34 percent approve and 60 percent disapprove. A May poll also by Monmouth University gave Christie a 35 percent to 54 percent rating among all residents and a 35 percent to 56 percent rating among voters.
"Fifty-six percent of New Jerseyans say he has abandoned his commitment to the state. Just 35 percent say he has fulfilled it and 71 percent say that he simply cannot be effective as governor if he is running for president. Only 26 percent say he can both things well," Murray said.
The poll also revealed Garden State residents are not buying into Christie's "telling it like it is" presidential campaign slogan:
- 57 percent said Christie's blunt style is employed just to get media attention;
- 36 percent said he is being straightforward;
- Just 36 percent described Christie as honest and trustworthy; and
- 58 percent said he is not honest or trustworthy.
In a head-to-head matchup with Democrat Hillary Clinton, Christie trails 49 percent to 32 percent, but the 17-point gap is a little better than his 23-point losing margin of 53 percent to 30 percent in the May survey.
The poll was conducted by telephone with 503 New Jersey adults, including 453 registered voters, from June 30-July 1, 2015. The total sample has a margin of error of + 4.4 percent and the registered voter sample has a margin of error of + 4.6 percent.