New Jersey residents may be warming up to Gov. Chris Christie — at least according to recent poll numbers. Christie received an overall approval rating of 50 percent in the recent survey, 4 percent higher than in March and the highest in his term so far.
Other results show a widening gender gap in Christie’s base of support, with 56 percent of men in favor of the governor only 45 percent of women.
David Redlawsk, a political science professor at Rutgers University who conducted the poll, says the numbers show a step forward for Christie’s administration.
New Jersey is “still a Democratic state overall, there are many more Democrats than there are Republicans,” he said. “And for a Republican governor like Chris Christie to have a positive rating from half of the population is actually pretty darn good in this day and age.”
Other poll results show that 51 percent of respondents feel conditions in New Jersey are changing for the better, while 46 percent say things are simply not getting worse.
Wile the polling shows an increase in support from liberals, young people and male voters, Redlawsk says those upticks can be deceptive.
“Sometimes you see these movements in different demographic groups that are actually relatively hard to explain,” Redlawsk said. “I think it’s simply that so few supported him anyway that any change seems like a lot. I don’t think it’s all that significant.”
Other contradictory results include an increase in support from families on the upper and lower ends of the economic scale while the middle class fell off.
Redlawsk says that may be due to lower-income voters overestimating how much they would gain from Christie’s income tax cut proposals.