Chris Christie, Front-Runner In 2013 New Jersey Governor Race, Gets Record-High Approval: Poll

02/20/2013 08:45 am ET | Updated Feb 20, 2013

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) leads Democratic rival Barbara Buono 62 percent to 25 percent in the state's 2013 gubernatorial race, according to a survey released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University.

Voters' opinions of the governor remain lofty. Christie's 74 percent approval rating and 69 percent favorable rating both tie his personal record highs from January.

He has majority approval even among Democrats, 31 percent of whom said they'd cross party lines to vote for him instead of Buono.

Buono, the only declared Democrat in the race, remains unknown to more than 80 percent of voters.

The New Jersey state senator has struggled both to raise her profile and also to turn the election into something beyond a referendum on last year's storm.

"People tell me it takes courage to do this," she told the Daily Beast of her candidacy. "I don’t feel that way. How could I not run? I mean, look at the shape our state is in. His fiscal policies are bringing us to the brink of disaster.”

Every poll taken this year on the race has shown Christie taking more than 60 percent of the vote against Buono, an improvement over his already solid performance in a survey taken pre-Hurricane Sandy.

The Quinnipiac poll surveyed 1,149 registered voters by phone between Feb. 13 and Feb. 17.

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