- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 7, 2014

A new poll shows New Jersey voters split in their opinion of Gov. Chris Christie, as he continues to struggle in his home state to recover from the “Bridgegate” scandal.

The new job approval score is his lowest since an August 2011 survey, and his split bully-meter rating is unchanged from an April poll.

Mr. Christie, who is eyeing a 2016 run for the Republican presidential nomination, received an approval rating of 49 percent to 47 percent in a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.

Garden State voters also were evenly divided at 48 percent on whether Mr. Christie is more of a leader or more of a bully.

“People used to talk about Gov. Christopher Christie’s appeal to independent voters, but many of those voters now have second thoughts,” said Maurice Carroll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll. “Bridgegate has faded from the headlines, but Gov. Christie still hasn’t recovered. His near-70 percent job approval rating in July 2013 dropped to 49 percent in April and is still there.”

Mr. Christie was considered an early frontrunner for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination until it was revealed in January that a top Christie aide ordered lane closures on the George Washington Bridge, causing major traffic jams in an adjacent town as political retribution against its Democratic mayor.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday showed that New Jersey voters don’t think Mr. Christie would be a good president by 55 percent to 39 percent.

They split over whether he should run by 49 percent against and 46 percent in favor of a presidential run for the two-term governor.

In the job-approval poll, Mr. Christie suffers from a gender gap with men approving of the governor 54 percent to 42 percent and women disapproving of him 50 percent to 44 percent.

Democrats disapproved 71 percent to 23 percent, while Republicans approved 86 percent to 12 percent. Independent voters were divided, with 47 percent approving and 50 percent disapproving, according to the poll.

Looking at the governor’s personal characteristics, New Jersey voters told the pollsters:

• 46 percent to 49 percent that he is honest and trustworthy;

• 47 percent to 49 percent that he cares about their needs and problems;

• 68 percent to 30 percent that he has strong leadership qualities.

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