NEW BRUNSWICK – In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, 59 percent of New Jersey registered voters support a second term for Gov. Chris Christie, while only 32 percent oppose his re-election, according to a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. Support for Christie’s re-election has risen dramatically from late September, when 44 percent favored re-election and 47 percent opposed it.
In a series of head-to-head tests against several Democrats thought to be potential 2013 gubernatorial candidates, Christie wins a clear majority in every contest. Newark Mayor Cory Booker does best in this group, but still loses 53 percent to 34 percent, with 13 percent choosing neither candidate.
Christie’s margin widens against others, including state Sen. and former Gov. Richard Codey (56 percent to 31 percent), State Sen. Barbara Buono (60 percent to 22 percent), , Assemblyman Lou Greenwald (60 percent to 21 percent) and former Democratic state chair Tom Byrne (58 percent to 22 percent). Moreover, few voters know the Democratic candidates well enough to have formed impressions of them, with the exception of Booker.
Driving Christie’s strong re-election support is the dramatic increase in the number of voters with a favorable impression of him, now at 67 percent, up 19 points from before the storm. And 61 percent now give Christie an A or B grade for his job performance, up 14 points from late September.
“Before Superstorm Sandy, things looked much different for Christie, as Democrats seemed positioned for a serious challenge next year,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers. “Voters were evenly split over the governor’s re-election, and Mayor Booker in particular looked like a very strong competitor. Post-Sandy, however, the political environment has changed, at least for now.”
Results are from a poll of 1,228 New Jersey adults conducted statewide among both landline and cell phone households from Nov 14-17. Within this sample is a subsample of 1,108 registered voters; this subsample has a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points. Questions about Christie’s job approval are reported two different ways using half samples. The margin of error for these questions is +/- 4.2 percentage points.