Aiming to revive his sagging presidential fortunes, Chris Christie is boasting to donors about his characteristically pugnacious performance before last week's Conservative Political Action Conference. Of course, Christie's media-bashing, faux-populist CPAC pitch didn't move voters in the conference's presidential straw poll: He finished tenth, with just 2.8 percent of the vote. While the New Jersey governor's approval ratings haven't sunk that low at home, a new poll shows him at the lowest ebb of his five-year tenure -- a finding that underscores the difficulties Christie will have as he seeks to breathe new life into his likely presidential bid.
The poll, from Farleigh Dickinson University, finds that only 35 percent of New Jersey voters approve of Christie's job performance, against 51 percent who disapprove. It's the second poll from the university to find Christie's approval rating below 40 percent; in January, Farleigh Dickinson pegged Christie's approval at 39 percent, with 47 percent disapproving.
Amid persistent budget woes, only 33 percent of voters in the latest poll said that New Jersey is on the right track. Meanwhile, 52 percent said that the state is headed in the wrong direction. Christie has billed himself as a turnaround artist, but assuming he runs for president, he'll confront questions about New Jersey's jobless rate, which is higher than the national average; the state's pension mess; and the eight credit downgrades that have occurred on his watch.
Asked to evaluate Christie's personality and policies, New Jersey voters are more divided. Twenty-one percent said that while they like the governor personally, they dislike his policies; 29 percent said they liked both. Eight percent indicated that while they dislike the governor, the favor his policies, while 35 percent told Farleigh Dickinson that they dislike everything about Christie.