As former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie continues to inch closer to another run for President, the residents of the Garden State are not recalling his tenure in a good light.
Christie, whose two term reign lasted from 2010-2018, was ranked last of the nine people who have served as the state’s chief executive since 1982, according to a Monmouth University Poll released May 18. But maybe more importantly for Christie’s future, only 19% of New Jerseyans currently feel Christie would make a good president—is down from 27% who said the same when he launched his first run in the Summer of 2015.
Even among Republicans, just one-third (34%) say he would make a good president. Six years ago, 57% of Christie’s fellow partisans gave him the thumbs up in an attempt to reside in the White House.
“Christie’s former constituents do not offer a ringing endorsement of his presidential aspirations,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute. “But these numbers also mean the state is likely to remain solidly blue in the general election even if the ex-governor is on the ballot.”
Christie Confirms Eyeing 2024
The poll was released on the same day where the Morris County resident confirmed on the “Ruthless” podcast that he’s weighing a 2024 presidential run and doesn’t plan to “defer” to former President Donald Trump when making a decision.
Respondents to the Monmouth Poll are certainly not clamoring for another Christie run at the Presidency—just 10% would like to see him run in 2024 while 59% would not. Another 31% say they do not care one way or the other.
The poll found Christie has a negative -38 net rating —26% favorable and 64% unfavorable— among New Jerseyans makes him the most unpopular living governor by far. Surprisingly, that was a gain of 11 points from when Christie left office, when he held a -49 net rating (22% favorable and 71% unfavorable).
Winning Back Republicans
The former governor’s rating have recovered with Republicans, as 53% now view him in a positive light and 35% unfavorable compared with 43% favorable and 48% unfavorable in 2018. But his numbers continue to be overwhelmingly negative with Democrats (16% favorable and 74% unfavorable) and Independents (22% favorable and 72% unfavorable).
“Christie left a lasting impression on the state…the problem is those opinions tend to be fairly negative,” said Murray.
When asked to describe what they remember most about Christie’s eight years in office, 1 in 4 mention the Bridgegate episode (26%). This is followed by his closure of state parks and a related meme of him sitting on the beach (12%) and another 4% reference corruption or scandal in general.
Of accomplishments during his term that Christie could use to run on, 9% of state residents favorable mention his response to Superstorm Sandy and 6% on the state budget, taxes, and pensions. Eight percent remember him for taking on the teachers’ union and school-related issues, but that number is a combination of admiration and resentment.
For his economic record, 4% offered negative comments about his handling of state worker pensions and 3% expressed dissatisfaction with his handling of taxes, particularly the gas tax.
The key to Christie’s rise in the GOP was his personality. But in the state where he was elected twice as governor, the 5% that give him positive references such as being “bold,” “a straight talker,” and “took a stand,” were outnumbered by the 7% who describe him as “arrogant,” “bully,” “disrespectful,” and “a liar.”
Another 5% negatively reference his political ambitions, saying he only looked out for himself.
“The sense that Christie turned his back on New Jersey in pursuit of higher office was the main reason for a sharp drop in his ratings by the time he left office,” said Murray. “Incidents like Bridgegate or Beachgate serve as vivid memes for this lingering sentiment.”