The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Even before he hit the beach, Chris Christie’s poll numbers took a bath

By now, you’ve heard about how Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) spent the day at the beach Sunday. You have heard about this because Christie’s outing was at a public beach in the state — a beach that was closed to the public thanks to a shutdown of the New Jersey government. Photographs taken by the Newark Star-Ledger of the Christie family enjoying the empty expanse of sand quickly went viral.

How bad has the fallout been? Even his own lieutenant governor burned him on Twitter.

You have probably also heard that this incident comes as Christie is battling some of the lowest approval ratings of his tenure — and in fact, of any governor in modern history.

If you haven’t, allow us. Here is data from Quinnipiac University, showing Christie’s net favorability rating (the percentage of people in the state viewing him positively minus the percentage viewing him negatively) through April 2015, and his net-job-approval rating since.

It’s hard to emphasize how terrible that chart is.

After winning election in 2009 and reelection handily four years later, the Bridgegate scandal broke, revealing that the governor’s staffers had called for punishment against the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., after he declined to endorse Christie’s campaign. That started the slide; Christie’s unsuccessful presidential bid exacerbated it. By mid-June of this year, his net approval rating was a stunning minus-66, with only 15 percent of the state viewing his job performance positively.

Even members of his own party have given up on him.

Among Democrats, Christie’s net approval rating is an incomprehensible minus-90. For the sake of comparison, Donald Trump’s approval among Democrats nationally is twice as high. And this was before the beach stunt.

It doesn’t seem to matter. Christie’s done after this year, termed out — and it shows. (The aforementioned lieutenant governor is running to replace him.) Even before this weekend’s public relations debacle, though, he was slated to go down in American history as one of the least popular state executives ever.

The question now is how much lower he might get.