The Washington Times - October 23, 2013, 07:31AM

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is looking strong heading into the final weeks of his re-election campaign.

A new Rutgers-Eagleton poll shows that more than six in 10 voters have a favorable view of the tough-talking Republican governor. Mr. Christie, a likely 2016 GOP presidential contender, also is faring well with the groups that the Republican National Committee has targeted, but struggled to woo in the wake of the 2012 election, with 58 percent of women, 51 percent of non-white voters and 60 percent of 18-39 year holding favorable views of Mr. Christie.

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“Between the increasing support of independents and the fact that many Democrats remain on his side, Christie’s favorability and job ratings continue to fly high,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.

Mr. Christie’s weak points continue to be his efforts on the economy and taxes, with 42 percent approving of his handling of the economy and jobs, and 38 percent approving of his performance on taxes. But he also still benefits from the way he responded to Hurricane Sandy, with support cutting across party lines.

And he is benefiting from the fact that state Sen. Barbara Buono, his Democratic opponent, is not well-known statewide and not well-liked. More than four in 10 voters having “no real impression of her,” and of those who have an impression, her negatives outweigh her positives.

“For a major party challenger, Sen. Buono has had very low visibility throughout this campaign,” Mr. Redlawsk said. “Her lack of resources and unwillingness of many Democratic leaders to promote her have hampered her messaging. Christie could have been vulnerable on the issues voters care about, but not without the presence of a visible, viable alternative.”

The New Jersey gubernatorial election is scheduled for Nov. 5.

The poll of 799 registered voters was conducted statewide by telephone from Oct. 7-13. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.