More than a month after Superstorm Sandy, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) approval rating remains high, as do his prospects for reelection in 2013.
Christie has a 69 percent approval rating among registered voters, according to a Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press poll released Tuesday, and 61 percent of voters think he deserves another term.
For the first time, Christie even won approval in a majority of households with public workers, with whom he's had a rocky relationship. This summer, he applauded the firing of state employees, telling a conservative conference, "[S]ince I've been governor we now have fewer people on the state payroll at any time since Christie Whitman left office in January 2001. That's the right direction, Mr. President, not the wrong direction."
New Jerseyans' newly positive views of their governor are mostly due to his handling of the storm, and haven't necessarily extended to his performance on other issues, the poll shows. Forty-five percent give him good marks on improving state schools, up only slightly since April, and only 30 percent think he's handled property taxes well.
Both property taxes and jobs came ahead of storm recovery as the most important issue facing the state.
Perceptions of Christie's political aspirations have changed significantly, however. Those polled were twice as likely to say Christie is focused on governing as they were to say he is focused on his own political future -- a significant shift from earlier in the year.
“While the governor’s political ambitions are no secret, his constituents feel they do not necessarily detract from pursuing what is best for the state, especially when it comes to recovering from Sandy,” Patrick Murray, Monmouth's polling director, said.
Other polling in the last month has also shown Christie winning record or near-record approval ratings, as well as nearly universal plaudits for his handling of Sandy. Head-to-head matchups show him crushing potential opponents, including Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D).
“Though the fact that he has a sharp tongue and a quick wit, his poll numbers indicate that people like what he’s doing and like him for that," Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), a formerly outspoken foe of Christie's, told the Philadelphia Inquirer last week. Answering a question about which Democrats could compete in 2013, he said, “Right now, it looks like nobody [can beat Christie].”
The Monmouth/Asbury Park poll surveyed 816 New Jersey adults, including 726 registered voters, by phone between Nov. 29 and Dec. 2, with a 3.4 percent margin of error.
"It's Not My Time" (3 Doors Down)
<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/04/chris-christie-2012-decision-_n_993910.html" target="_hplink">(Oct. 4, 2011) --</a></strong> Christie announced that he will not run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, vowing that "now is not my time." He quipped to New Jersey residents "whether you like it or not, you're stuck with me."
"Need You Now" (Lady Antebellum)
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/11/chris-christie-mitt-romney_n_1005601.html" target="_hplink"><strong>LEBANON, N.H. (Oct. 11, 2011) --</strong></a> After dismissing calls to run for president himself, Christie endorsed Romney, telling the GOP that he is the candidate we need now.
"How Do I Live" (LeAnn Rimes)
<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/07/chris-christie-town-hall_n_1133756.html" target="_hplink">WEST NEW YORK, N.J. (Dec. 7, 2011) --</a></strong> At a local town hall, Christie did not take kindly to a <a href="http://videos.nj.com/star-ledger/2011/12/video_chris_christie_asked_if.html" target="_hplink">constituent's question</a> about how his administration conducts these types of meetings. He showed the individual little mercy, going "if I plant questions, why the hell did I call on you?"
"Can You Feel The Love Tonight" (Elton John)
<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/08/chris-christie-mic-checked-occupy-wall-street_n_1136762.html" target="_hplink">(Dec. 8, 2011) --</a></strong> Occupy Wall Street protesters interrupted Christie during an appearance in Iowa, making him a target of the movement's "mic check" trend.
"Shut Up" (The Black Eyed Peas)
<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/22/chris-christie-warren-buffett_n_1294579.html" target="_hplink">(Feb. 21, 2012) --</a></strong> In an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan, Christie had some choice words for Warren Buffett, surrounding the billionaire investor's desire to be taxed at a higher rate. "Just write a check and shut up," he remarked.
"American Idiot" (Green Day)
<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/09/christie-argues-with-veteran_n_1334963.html" target="_hplink">(March 9, 2012) --</a></strong> Christie argued with a former Navy SEAL over the New Jersey's plans to reconfigure public universities. The result? Some fire from the governor's tongue, as he called the veteran an "idiot."
"Call Me Maybe" (Carly Rae Jepsen)
<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/13/chris-christie-talks-vp-p_n_1423271.html" target="_hplink">(April 13, 2012) --</a></strong> Throughout Mitt Romney's run for the White House, Christie made it known that he was open to a vice presidential nod (should Romney ask him).
"Rocky Ground" (Bruce Springsteen)
<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/19/chris-christie-sleeping-bruce-springsteen-_n_1438337.html" target="_hplink">(April 19, 2012) --</a></strong> Christie vehemently denied reports that he was sleeping at a Bruce Springsteen concert in New York City. <em><strong>
"I Don't Really Care" (Waka Flocka Flame)
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/30/chris-christie-jimmy-kimmel_n_1465608.html" target="_hplink">(April 30, 2012) --</a> Christie responded to jokes comedian Jimmy Kimmel made about his weight at the 2012 White House Correspondents Dinner, throwing Sofia Vergara into the mix. "I figured I was in the zone of danger," he said.
"Ready Or Not" (The Fugees)
<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/14/chris-christie-gop-keynote-convention_n_1774525.html" target="_hplink">(Aug. 14, 2012) --</a></strong> After entertaining the idea of running for president and making Mitt Romney's short list of VP candidates, Christie was named the keynote speaker at the 2012 Republican National Convention. "I'll try to tell some very direct and hard truths to people in the country about the trouble that we're in and the fact that fixing those problems is not going to be easy for any of them," he told <em>USA Today</em>.