Chris Christie continues to make headlines far beyond his home state of New Jersey. While many see the Garden State governor as a controversial and polarizing figure a new poll from Quinnipiac suggests that he is one of the country's two most popular governors.
The New poll places Christie's current approval rating margin at a staggering 74-21%. That figure includes approval from 56% of Democrats, 78% of independents, and a whopping 93% of Republicans. Although men (79%) find Christie a bit more appealing than woman (69%) the governor enjoys positive marks across the board. His popularity is essentially tied with neighboring New York state governor Andrew Cuomo as the highest among their respective constituents of any two governors in America.
Christie also receives an almost universally positive grade for his handling of the Hurricane Sandy disaster in the fall of last year. 94% of Garden State voters believe he did at least a 'good' job in handling the situation with 61% of that total saying the governor's response was 'excellent'. This far outdistances John Boehner's rating with just 25% considering the House Speaker to have done a good or great job in responding to the crisis against 62% who rated his performance 'not so good' or 'poor'. Like Governor Christie President Obama also scores big with New Jersey voters on the topic of Sandy. By a 74-25% margin three-quarters of those polled think the President did a good job in handling the issue, a figure that includes nearly one-third (32%) who considered his efforts to be excellent.
With such high levels of support it's not surprising to see the competition wilt. Again according to Quinnipiac Christie leads three hypothetical Democratic candidates for the governorship in 2014 by wide margins. State Senator Richard Codey does best trailing by a 59-30% margin. That's followed by State Senate President Stephen Sweeney's (61-25%) deficit and the favored nominee and current State Senator Barbara Buono (63-22%) far behind.
In other New Jersey races, 89-year old Frank Lautenberg trails Newark Mayor Cory Booker by a considerable 51-30% margin in their probable primary match up to decide the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate. This in spite of Lautenberg's solid 50-34% approval margin. Another Lautenberg victory would mean the oldest current congressman in America would be in his latter 90s by the time his term would end in 2021. Democrat Bob Menendez on the other hand currently sits comfortably with 51-33% approval rating just months after winning another term in the U.S. Senate last November.
Many Republicans are pushing for the moderate Christie to represent the party as it's Presidential nominee in 2016. If he were to win the nomination and then the Presidency he would become the second governor of New Jersey to do so after Democrat Woodrow Wilson in 1912. Like Wilson, Christie is expected to run well with voters in the south and lower mid-west. Unlike Wilson, Christie is expected to fair better than the twelve-point loss Wilson suffered in his home state (albeit not his birth state) of New Jersey running for, and ultimately winning, reelection in 1916.