Rutgers poll: Christie ‘overwhelms’ Buono; coattail effect less certain

NEW BRUNSWICK – According to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, 64 percent of New Jersey registered voters say Gov. Chris Christie should be re-elected, up five points from November.  Just over a quarter say it is time for someone new, according to the poll released Tuesday. 

In a matchup against state Sen. Barbara Buono, the only declared Democratic candidate among elected officials, Christie overwhelms her 63 percent to 21 percent.

He even scores a decisive win among voters most concerned about the economy and taxes, despite the disapproval of his handling of these issues reported by the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll last week.

“We continue to see strong support for the governor’s re-election post-Sandy,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers University, in a release.

“Christie is riding high on 86 percent approval of his handling of the storm. Consideration of his performance on the economy and taxes is so far on the back-burner that few voters are taking them into account in their voting decision.”

Buono, on the other hand, faces an uphill battle on name recognition, the poll concludes. Two-thirds of voters have no opinion of the challenger or admit they do not know who she is.

Only 20 percent have a favorable impression of the likely Democratic nominee, while 13 percent have an unfavorable impression. This is a significant improvement since November, when 82 percent could not give an opinion on Buono and just 11 percent had a favorable impression of her.

“To her benefit, the 15-point improvement in name recognition has mostly come on the positive side,” noted Redlawsk. “But Buono has a long way to go before voters know her well enough to give her serious consideration.”

Coattails?

However, Christie’s re-election support does not yet translate into good news for legislative Republicans. At this early stage, 25 percent of voters say they plan to vote for Republicans for the Legislature in 2013, while 40 percent say they will vote for Democrats. Another quarter has no preference this early in the election season. 

Results are from a poll of 796 adults conducted statewide among both landline and cell phone households from Jan. 30 – Feb. 3. Within this sample is a subsample of 698 registered voters reported on here; this subsample has a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points.

"Historically, the media has had two caricatures of Republicans. We are either stupid or evil."
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