Christie’s Favorability Falls As Bipartisan Image Disintegrates

Chris Christie Favorability

New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s (R) rough month is only getting worse.

Christie’s favorability rating dropped 19 points in the wake of the George Washington Bridge scandal, according to a recent Rutgers-Eagleton poll. The poll, published Wednesday, shows 46 percent of New Jersey voters have a favorable view of Governor Christie, down from a high 65 percent favorability rating in November of last year.

The drop is due in large part to diminished bipartisan support. Democrats who once reached across the aisle to support Christie’s administration are now distancing themselves from the scandal-ridden governor.

In the November poll, 45 percent of Democratic voters viewed Christie favorably. That number has dropped 26 points since the bridge fiasco; just 19 percent of New Jersey Democrats now view the governor favorably. Perhaps more damning, two-thirds of the most recent Rutgers-Eagleton poll was conducted before Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer alleged that Christie’s administration threatened to withhold Superstorm Sandy relief funds unless she backed a specific real estate development.

Christie framed his response to Superstorm Sandy as a shining example of an administration willing to put aside partisan politics to achieve practical goals. As photos of Christie and President Obama surveying the damage swirled, the governor’s job approval rating went through the roof: 73 percent of New Jersey voters approved of Christie’s performance in Sandy’s wake. His re-election campaign was also able to poach 60 endorsements from Democratic officials throughout the state.

Today, it’s fair to argue that Christie’s numbers only stand to fall further, as the drop in the polls has coincided with revelations about the scandals. With numerous investigations underway, there’s sure to be more information uncovered.

“Other polls taken immediately after the bridge scandal broke showed relatively small effects,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton poll. “But with another week of revelations, damage appears to have been done. The good will the governor built up among Democrats with his handling of the [Superstorm] Sandy aftermath is gone, at least for now.”

Whether or not Christie will be able to rebuild that good will remains to be seen. With the governor’s top appointees facing subpoenas by Democratic lawmakers, it seems unlikely.

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