Following the indictments of some former political allies in the George Washington Bridge lane closures, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s voter approval ratings have dropped to a new low.
The plunge comes as Christie continues to contemplate throwing his hat in the ring for the GOP presidential nomination.
Only 35 percent of New Jersey residents surveyed in a Monmouth University Poll now approve of the job Christie is doing, while 54 percent disapprove, said poll director Patrick Murray.
And just 30 percent of state residents polled now have a favorable opinion of Chris Christie as a person.
“Those are the numbers that are even more important than his job approval rating because people in New Hampshire and Iowa aren’t paying attention to the policies here in New Jersey and the job he’s doing,” Murray said. “They’re paying attention to the kind of man he is, and those numbers are even worse.”
Most of those polled don’t believe the governor has been completely forthright on the politically motivated lane closures.
“Right now, 69 percent of New Jerseyans don’t believe that the governor has come clean,” Murray said. “And what’s interesting about this is that, just a few months ago, even his fellow Republicans at least stuck with him, a majority said that he was being honest. Now a majority of Republicans in New Jersey say he hasn’t come clean.”
If future disclosures don’t contradict Christie’s account of not knowing in advance about the lane closures, Murray said, the governor can recover from his drop in popularity — but perhaps not in time for the presidential election next year.
The U.S. Attorney’s office unsealed indictments against three former Christie associates in the Bridgegate scheme Friday, including a guilty plea entered by David Wildstein.
But only 9 percent of New Jerseyans believe the three people charged were the only individuals responsible for the decision to close the lanes.