STATE – Almost three-in-five (58%) registered New Jersey voters with knowledge of Gov. Chris Christie’s speech at the Republican National Convention believe he was more successful in selling himself to the American public than he was in advocating for the Romney/Ryan ticket, according to a recent poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind. Only 23% say his speech was more effective at helping to convince the electorate to support Mitt Romney’s presidential bid.
“Gov. Christie’s speech was seen or heard by a national audience, many of whom were being introduced to the governor for the first time. The tension between using this opportunity to establish his identity as a national figure versus advocating on behalf of Gov. Romney came with the assignment,” said Krista Jenkins, director of the poll and professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University. “It’s notable that even among New Jersey Republicans, almost half – or 48% – evaluate his speech as more helpful to himself rather than the Republican ticket.”
The poll also indicates widespread awareness of Gov. Christie’s speech. Almost three-quarters (71%) of all registered New Jersey voters report being aware of the governor’s speech, having watched or heard it as it was delivered or in the days after.
Beyond the convention, however, Garden State residents continue to give the governor high marks for his job performance, with 51% of registered voters giving him their stamp of approval and 35% disapproving. Furthermore, more than half of all respondents (52%) say the state is moving in the right direction, a number that continues to underscore Republican Gov. Christie’s support in a state with more Democrats than Republicans.
“These numbers have basically remained the same across polls conducted throughout the year,” said Jenkins. “Policy battles have come and gone, new ones have emerged, and the state continues to struggle with an unemployment rate that’s greater than the national average. Yet, Governor Christie remains in good standing with a broad cross-section of registered voters.”
The survey also points to the healthy degree of support he receives from independent and Democratic constituents. A majority of independents, who will be important to him should he seek re-election next year, approve of the job he’s doing (55%) and believe the state is on the right track (54%). In addition, a sizable number of Democrats give him high marks across both measures as well (28% and 32%, respectively).
“These numbers underscore his broad base of support among political allies and potential foes alike,” said Jenkins. “They also are what distinguish him from his peers in statehouses around the country who struggle with an ability to connect across party lines and yet face similar challenges as New Jersey. Should Governor Christie seek re-election, his campaign will begin from a place that those in similar positions will envy.”
The Fairleigh Dickinson University statewide poll of 901 registered voters was conducted by telephone with both landline and cell phones from Sept. 6, 2012 through Sept. 12, 2012, and has a margin of error of +/-3.3 percentage points.