STATE – Even though Republican Gov. Chris Christie is in the middle of a re-election campaign, nearly two-thirds of New Jersey residents (63 percent) believe that he has set his sight on the Oval Office.
According to the new Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll, 40 percent believe Christie is already planning his 2016 Presidential campaign. Just 22 percent think that Christie doesn’t want to run for president while 15 percent are unsure about his political goals.
“Some people suspect that a 2016 run figures into Christie’s policy decisions, but it does not necessarily undercut his performance as governor,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Currently, 44% of New Jerseyans say that Christie is more concerned with governing the state of New Jersey compared to 38% who say he is more concerned with his own political future. Another 12% volunteer that he is balancing both concerns equally. In December – right after Superstorm Sandy devastated the state – 61% said that the governor was focused more on the state than himself.
The governor’s recent veto of a 50 caliber weapon ban is one issue that has been analyzed in this light. About 4-in-10 (39%) Garden State residents say Christie made this decision based what he thought was best for New Jersey, while 35% say he made this decision based on what he thought would help him in a run for president. Another 10% say both reasons contributed equally to his veto.
Few people are actually aware of the veto, though, because the decision was made late on a Friday when news coverage was minimal and focused more on his conditional veto of a medical marijuana bill earlier that day. In fact just 11% have heard a lot about the gun bill veto and 42% have heard a little. Among those who heard a lot about the bill, 46% say the decision arose from Christie’s political ambitions compared to 41% who say he was acting in the best interests of the state.
The Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll was conducted by telephone with 783 New Jersey adults from September 6 to 10, 2013. This sample has a margin of error of + 3.5 percent. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute and originally published by the Asbury Park Press and its sister publications (Courier-Post, Courier News, Daily Journal, Daily Record, and Home News Tribune).
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