- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 6, 2014

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie enjoyed a successful election night on the national stage Tuesday, with several Republican governors cruising to election over President Obama’s allies.

Now, Mr. Christie’s constituents are giving him higher marks than the federal government for his handling of the Ebola situation.

A Monmouth University poll released Thursday says the majority of Garden State residents agreed with the governor’s move to quarantine a nurse from Maine who exhibited a fever at Newark Liberty International Airport after working with patients in Sierra Leone.

Sixty-seven percent approved the decision to move 33-year-old Kaci Hickox to a hospital tent and only 19 percent disapproved, although Republicans were far more likely than Democrats to support Mr. Christie, a potential 2016 candidate for president, on the issue.

Gov. Christie has made a good read of how uneasy the public is with the seemingly uncertain response from the feds. The Ebola issue has offered him an opportunity to take on the mantle of leadership,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Republicans were more likely to disapprove (56 percent) than approve (25 percent) of the governor’s decision to let Ms. Hickox return home to Maine once she was symptom-free for 24 hours, while more Democrats (45 percent) approved than disapproved (29 percent) of letting her go.

Ms. Hickox won a brief legal skirmish after Maine officials tried to confine her to home or at least three feet away from any people during Ebola’s incubation period. She has not shown signs of the viral disease and has said she will be mindful of the public’s fears in her movements until Monday, when her period of monitoring for Ebola lapses.

In New Jersey voters, nearly nine in 10 voters (88 percent) say they have heard a lot about the Ebola issue.

But only one in four voters think Ebola is a major public health threat to New Jersey, while about seven in 10 say it is a minor threat (48 percent) or no threat at all (21 percent).

“It’s encouraging that people in New Jersey are able to come to their own conclusions based on the most credible sources, the medical community, versus individuals who are exaggerating the risk for their own political reasons,” said George Kapalka, chair and professor of psychological counseling at Monmouth University. “I am also a practicing psychologist as well as a professor, and my patients don’t seem to be exhibiting a high degree of anxiety about this.”

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