- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s approval ratings have taken a big hit from a month ago, dropping 9 points amid the release of e-mails suggesting Mr. Christie’s staffers allegedly exacted political revenge by ordering the closure of lanes to the George Washington Bridge.

Mr. Christie’s job approval rating still stands at 50 percent, compared to 44 percent of Garden State residents who disapprove; the split is 49 percent to 46 percent among registered voters.

But that’s 9 points down in each subset from a poll last month taken just days after an e-mail from a former Christie staffer surfaced saying it was “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” — an allusion to Democratic Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, who did not endorse Mr. Christie, a Republican, for re-election last year.

The 49 percent voter approval number in the February Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press poll is the first time Mr. Christie’s job approval rating has been below 50 percent since 2011 in the poll and is off by 20 points from the high water mark of 70 percent a year ago.

“This hole is getting deeper. Christie’s image as the hero of Sandy is now just a fading memory,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Mr. Christie, a potential 2016 GOP presidential contender, has vigorously denied any prior knowledge of the incident. But 56 percent of New Jerseyans now say he is more concerned with his political future than governing the state — the first time a majority has thought as much.

The poll of 803 New Jersey adults was conducted from Feb. 19-23 and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

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