- The Washington Times - Monday, April 14, 2014

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has taken some knocks over what he may have known about a lane-closing episode near the George Washington Bridge last year, but state voters approve 51-42 percent of the way he is handling the recovery from Superstorm Sandy, a Quinnipiac University poll said.

Mr. Christie, a Republican who has fallen a peg among the ranks of possible 2016 presidential contenders, made post-Sandy efforts a cornerstone of his tenure in Trenton.

After the 2012 hurricane took a direct swipe at the Jersey Shore, the governor appeared with President Obama multiple times and starred in tourism ads with his family — efforts that burnished his commitment to the cause while attracting criticism from members of both parties.

New Jersey voters gave failing grades to insurance companies, and only 39 percent said the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s efforts have been good or excellent, while 52 percent say they’ve been not so good or poor.

“Garden State voters flunk FEMA and insurance companies for their Sandy recovery work. Gov. Christopher Christie does a little better, and local government scores well,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

The poll offers a bright spot in a relative bleak year for Mr. Christie, as he insists he knew nothing about a scheme to close toll lanes and cause massive traffic jams for four days last September in Fort Lee, N.J.

Officials with links to Mr. Christie directed the closures, potentially as political payback during the governor’s re-election bid.

Mr. Christie has also been criticized for appearing in Sandy recovery ads during an election year, with congressional Democrats accusing the governor of ignoring the lowest bid for the filming project.