New Monmouth Poll paints harsh picture of Christie

By Michael Aron
Chief Political Correspondent

“There are nothing but low points in this poll for Chris Christie,” said Patrick Murray

Today’s Monmouth Poll has Christie’s approval rating at 15 percent. That’s the same as in a Quinnipiac poll last month, but down from 27 percent in a Monmouth Poll a year ago. This poll was taken late last week after a state government shutdown was resolved and after those photos of Christie on a beach he closed to the public went viral.

“Nearly every New Jerseyan saw that photo and two-thirds of them said they had something negative in their reaction about it. We actually asked them to describe their reaction and the top words that we got were ‘disgusted,’ ‘arrogant,’ ‘selfish,’ ‘angry,’ ‘disappointed’ it just goes on and on. About six percent actually used profanities with our interviewers on the phone,” Murray said.

Fifty-five percent of New Jerseyans have a dim view of the state under Christie, up from 41 percent a year ago.

“We now have a majority of New Jerseyans — 55 percent — who say that the state is worse off because of his time as governor,” said Murray.

Christie’s motives are in question, too.

“We’ve got eight in 10 New Jerseyans who say he’s put his own political ambitions before the state’s good,” said Murray.

Among Republicans, Christie’s approval rating is just 30 percent.

“We have now two-thirds of Republicans who are saying their own Republican governor is doing a bad job. He’s got worse ratings than President Trump here in New Jersey, he’s got worse ratings than the state Legislature, which really is an accomplishment for the governor,” said Murray.

As for last week’s government shutdown, Murray says the public blames the governor and the Legislature about equally, but doesn’t buy the explanation that the fight was over Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield‘s internal workings.

“You look at what caused this impasse, what was this stalemate over in this Horizon bill. Most people knew that that was what the negotiating was about, and the vast majority say this was not about transparency, this was some sort of political payback against Horizon that we don’t know about,” said Murray.

President Trump’s ratings in the poll: 35 percent of New Jerseyans approve, 58 percent disapprove.

Sen. Booker is at 49 percent approval, 30 percent disapproval.

And Sen. Menendez is in positive territory at 41-35, despite being under indictment.

Since the poll was taken after the photos of the governor at the beach house came out, it’s surprising in a way that his numbers aren’t lower.

“We were all wondering whether Chris Christie would get into the single digits after this ‘Beachgate’ flap because there was no questions that the vast majority of New Jerseyans are upset about his behavior during that weekend. However, it does seem there is this hard floor below which Christie can not go, and it looks like that might be about 15 percent,” said Murray.

“Poll numbers matter when you’re running for something. When you’re not running for something, they don’t matter a bit,” said Christie.

The governor says he stopped caring about poll numbers long ago.