Approval of Christie reaches three-year low in New Jersey


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

New Jersey voters are split right down the middle when it comes to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). And that's bad news for him.

A new Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday shows 49 percent approve of the job Christie is doing, while 47 percent disapprove -- the lowest marks Christie has received since August 2011.

While Christie will not face reelection again, he's weighing a run for president in 2016. Declining public opinion back home, where voters are watching him more closely than the rest of the country, could signal broader political troubles looming.

Is the governor more leader or bully? The state is also divided on that question, with 48 percent falling on either side. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of Republicans say leader while most Democrats say bully.

Christie is still recovering from the effects of "Bridgegate," a scandal in which former aides and appointees snarled traffic on the George Washington Bridge in an apparent act of political retribution. Christie has not been found guilty of any wrongdoing or implicated in the scheme. But federal prosecutors and state legislators are still probing the incident.

Christie's office commissioned its own investigation, which found the governor had no involvement in the scheme.

But 49 percent of those who have heard about the fall 2013 bridge scandal say the governor's own probe was a "whitewash," not a legitimate investigation. Forty-three percent say it was real.

Perhaps even more troubling for Christie, nearly half of voters (49 percent) say the governor is not honest and trustworthy. Forty-six percent say he is.

Christie was overwhelmingly reelected by more than 20 points last year, a remarkable feat for any Republican running in such a Democratic state. He won an astounding 32 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of independents, catapulting him to the top of the the GOP's 2016 wish list based on his appeal to non-Republicans.

But these days, Democrats back home are skeptical. Seventy-one percent of them disapprove of the job Christie is doing. Half of independents do, too.

The poll of New Jersey voters was conducted from July 31 - August 4, and the margin of error was plus or minus 2.9 percent.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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