Troubled waters, fisherman’s gain
By John Schoonejongen, Gannett NJ Statehouse Bureau/Asbury Park Press
10:46AM EST November 27. 2012 – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is experiencing a spike in popularity because of his forceful response to superstorm Sandy, according to two new polls, and that is encouraging news for the governor’s just announced reelection bid.
The Republican did either an excellent or good job dealing with the storm, said 95 percent of respondents to a Quinnipiac University Polling Institute survey released today. In addition, 72 percent of those polled approved of the way Christie is handling his job.
In a Rutgers-Eagleton poll, also released today, Christie had an approval rating of 67 percent.
The numbers are promising for Christie, who filed paperwork Monday to run for reelection in 2013. The governor said he wanted to continue working on the state’s recovery from Sandy, which delivered a destructive punch to New Jersey’s coast, causing an estimated $29.4 billion of damage statewide.
FULL COVERAGE: Sandy’s devastation becoming clear
The governor’s blunt and driving manner was on full display during the crisis, and it gave the impression of a leader fully in charge of the response. Those polled apparently agreed.
A total of 59 percent of registered polled by Rutgers-Eagleton said they supported Christie for reelection, and in a series of questions about head-to-head contests with Democrats, Christie fared well, winning each. Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a national figure rumored to be interested in running for governor, came the closest, but he still lost to Christie 53 to 34 percent, according to Rutgers-Eagleton.
“Current levels of support for Christie’s re-election are stunning, given how divided voters were before the storm,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton poll. “The combination of leadership, empathy and bipartisanship shown by the governor during the crisis impressed most people and gave the governor a strong push into the 2013 campaign.”
“Gov. Christopher Christie never looked more like a ‘Jersey Guy’ than when he stood on the Seaside boardwalk after Sandy, and, just about unanimously, his New Jersey neighbors – Republicans, Democrats, Independents – applauded,” agreed Maurice Carroll, the Quinnipiac poll’s director.
Carroll said Christie “gets sky-high marks from the cities, the Shore, from every corner of the state.”
Those surveyed in the Quinnipiac poll were also generous in their praise for everyone from first responders to the utility companies, who all received high approval ratings. President Barack Obama also scored high, with 82 percent of respondents giving him an excellent or good rating for his response to the storm.
The Quinnipiac poll also indicated that the heavily publicized embrace shared by Obama and Christie was appropriate, with 84 percent approving of the gesture. Christie had come under fire from conservatives for the embrace and his praise of Obama just days before the general election.