With less than 10 months until voters head to the polls to choose the governor to lead the state for the next four years, Gov. Chris Christie has a 78 percent approval rating, according to a new poll.
The Kean University/NJ Speaks poll of 1,000 likely voters showed 89 percent of Republicans approve of the job the governor is doing along with 70 percent of Democrats.
Overall, only 20 percent of respondents said they disapprove of the job Christie has done.
“The governor is approaching rock star status,” said Terry Golway, director of the Kean University Center for History, Politics, and Policy. “Bruce Springsteen may start showing up at his town hall meetings.”
The poll also matched Christie head to head against three potential Democratic challengers in next November’s election, state Sen. Barbara Buono, the only declared candidate in the field, former Gov. Dick Codey and Senate President Steve Sweeney.
While the poll showed Christie defeating any of the three handily, Codey fared the best, with a 53 to 28 percent margin favoring the Republican incumbent. Sweeney fared the worst among respondents with a margin of 58 percent to 19 percent in favor of Christie, while Buono came in at 55 percent to 22 percent in favor of the Republican governor.
In the wake of the horrific Newtown, Conn., mass murder of 20 school children and six adults last month, an overwhelming majority of respondents favor a ban on “assault weapons” with 71 percent saying they favor efforts to ban the weapons. More than half of all respondents – 56 percent – said they would be less likely to support a candidate endorsed by the National Rifle Association.
On a question on placing armed guards in schools, a controversial proposal that also stems from the Newtown massacre, voters were mixed. A plurality of 34 percent said armed guards would make schools safer, while 27 percent said guards would make schools less safe. Twenty-nine percent of respondents said it would make no difference in school safety.
On the national front, President Obama received a 66 percent approval rating among state voters, while 58 percent blamed House Republicans for the delays in releasing aid to the areas ravaged by Superstorm Sandy.
The margin of sampling error for the full sample is +/- 3.0% percentage points.