January 15, 2014 - New Jersey Gov's Bully-Meter Is Down, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Voters Believe He Wasn't Involved In Bridgegate
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New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie is more of a leader than a bully, voters say 54 - 40 percent today, one of his lowest "bully" scores since the Quinnipiac University poll first asked the question June 17, 2010.

Gov. Christie gets positive marks on key characteristics: Voters say 51 - 41 percent that he is honest and trustworthy; 74 - 23 percent that he is a strong leader and 55 - 41 percent that he cares about their needs and problems.

Today's results show more leader and less bully than the 50 - 45 percent results in a July 17, 2012, survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University.

Today, men say 53 - 42 percent that Christie is more of a leader than a bully and women agree 55 - 39 percent. Opting for "leader" are Republicans 78 - 17 percent and independent voters 55 - 40 percent. Democrats say 56 - 37 percent that the governor is more of a bully.

New Jersey voters approve 55 - 38 percent of the job Gov. Christie is doing, down from his all-time high 74 - 22 percent February 20, 2013. Women approve 55 - 37 percent while men approve 54 - 39 percent. Approval among Democrats drops from 56 - 38 percent last February to a negative 36 - 55 percent today.

"New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie is doing better with the public than with the news media. His job approval has dropped from the stratosphere, but it's still double-digit positive, pretty much where he was before his Superstorm Sandy hug with President Barack Obama," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"We stopped asking that 'bully' question 18 months ago. But we tried it again and, even with all the 'Bridgegate' stories, he still scores higher as a leader than as a bully. Except with Democrats. More than half of them still say 'bully' - and not in a good way."

Some 93 percent of all New Jersey voters have read or heard something about the controversy surrounding the September traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge.

Voters in that group say 66 - 22 that the governor did not personally order the traffic jam. Even Democrats say 53 - 32 percent that Christie was not involved.

Among voters who know of Bridgegate, 41 percent say Christie knew what his aides were doing while 50 percent say these aides acted without the governor's knowledge.

If Christie did order the traffic jam, or knew what his aides were doing, 33 percent of voters who know the issue say he should be removed from office and prosecuted on criminal charges, while 32 percent say he should just be removed from office and 27 percent say an apology is enough.

Aides accused of involvement should be prosecuted, 43 percent of voters say, while 45 percent say removal from office is sufficient punishment and 6 percent say a reprimand is punishment enough.

The George Washington Bridge scandal "damages" Christie's chances as a 2016 presidential contender, 49 percent of voters who know the issue say. Another 7 percent say the scandal ends those chances, while 2 percent say it helps his chances and 38 percent say the scandal will have no impact.

"If Gov. Christie ordered or knew about the deliberate mess at the bridge, 24 percent of Republicans think he should be fired and another 26 percent say he should be fired and prosecuted," Carroll said.

"But most New Jerseyans - even most Democrats - doubt that the Governor was personally involved.

"Christie for President? This scandal hurts his chances, both Democrats and Republicans think. But - maybe it's pride in having their governor tops on the list - many New Jerseyans think he's still up there."

From January 10 - 13, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,207 New Jersey voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado and the nation as a public service and for research.

For more information, visit http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Christopher Christie is handling his job as Governor?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              55%    81%    36%    56%    54%    55%
Disapprove           38     16     55     37     39     37
DK/NA                 7      4      9      7      7      8
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Christopher Christie is handling his job as Governor? (*High also 74% Jan 2013, **Low also 44% Jun 2010)
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Jan 15  Jul 10  Jun 10  Apr 24  Mar 26  Feb 20  Jun 21
                     2014    2013    2013    2013    2013    2013*   2011**
 
Approve              55      68      69      67      70      74      44
Disapprove           38      26      27      24      23      22      47
DK/NA                 7       6       5       9       7       4      10
 
 
2. Would you say that Chris Christie - is honest and trustworthy or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Yes                  51%    75%    34%    53%    50%    51%
No                   41     18     58     41     43     40
DK/NA                 8      6      9      6      7      9
 
TREND: Would you say that Chris Christie is honest and trustworthy or not?
                     Jan 15  Jun 10
                     2014    2009
 
Yes                  51      42
No                   41      20
DK/NA                 8      38
 
 
3. Would you say that Chris Christie - cares about the needs and problems of people like you or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Yes                  55%    79%    37%    59%    55%    56%
No                   41     20     58     38     42     40
DK/NA                 4      1      5      3      4      4
 
TREND: Would you say that Chris Christie cares about the needs and problems of people like you or not?
                     Jan 15  Jun 10
                     2014    2009
 
Yes                  55      44
No                   41      23
DK/NA                 4      32
 
 
4. Would you say that Chris Christie - has strong leadership qualities or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Yes                  74%    90%    62%    76%    76%    73%
No                   23      9     34     21     22     24
DK/NA                 3      1      4      2      2      3
 
TREND: Would you say that Chris Christie has strong leadership qualities or not?
                     Jan 15  Jun 10
                     2014    2009
 
Yes                  74      48
No                   23      17
DK/NA                 3      36
 
 
5. Would you describe Governor Christie as being more of a bully or more of a leader?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Bully                40%    17%    56%    40%    42%    39%
Leader               54     78     37     55     53     55
DK/NA                 6      5      6      5      6      7
 
TREND: Would you describe Governor Christie as being more of a bully, or more of a leader?
                     Jan 15  Jul 17  Apr 11  Nov 09  Aug 19  Jun 17
                     2014    2012    2012    2010    2010    2010
 
Bully                40      45      39      42      39      43
Leader               54      50      54      50      51      44
DK/NA                 6       4       7       8      11      13
 
 
6. Do you believe Governor Christie can work with Democrats in the state legislature to get things done or don't you think so?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Yes                  67%    84%    54%    68%    68%    66%
No                   28     14     39     27     26     30
DK/NA                 5      2      7      4      6      4
 
 
7. Have you heard or read anything about the controversy surrounding the September traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Yes                  93%    96%    92%    95%    93%    93%
No                    7      4      7      5      7      6
DK/NA                 -      -      1      -      -      -
 
 
8. (If heard or read q7) Do you believe aides to Governor Christie deliberately caused this traffic jam as retribution because a local mayor would not endorse the governor for reelection or don't you think so?
                     HEARD/READ ABOUT TRAFFIC JAM Q7.......
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Yes                  62%    53%    69%    65%    67%    57%
No                   23     30     18     21     21     24
DK/NA                15     17     13     14     12     18
 
 
9. (If heard or read q7) Do you believe Christie personally ordered the traffic jam or not?
                     HEARD/READ ABOUT TRAFFIC JAM Q7.......
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Yes                  22%    11%    32%    20%    25%    20%
No                   66     83     53     69     66     66
DK/NA                12      6     15     10      9     14
 
 
10. (If heard or read q7) Do you believe Christie was aware that his aides were causing this traffic jam or do you believe his aides were acting without his knowledge?
                     HEARD/READ ABOUT TRAFFIC JAM Q7.......
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Christie was aware   41%    20%    57%    39%    42%    40%
Aides acted alone    50     71     32     52     49     50
DK/NA                10      9     10      9      9     10
 
 
11. (If heard or read q7) Do you believe Democratic state legislators are conducting a legitimate investigation or do you believe they are conducting a political witch hunt?
                     HEARD/READ ABOUT TRAFFIC JAM Q7.......
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Legitimate investgtn 52%    31%    70%    50%    50%    54%
Political witch hunt 39     59     21     41     41     36
DK/NA                 9     10      9      9      9     10
 
 
12. (If heard or read q7) What do you think should happen to aides accused of involvement in the traffic jam: they should be reprimanded, they should be dismissed from office, or they should be dismissed from office and prosecuted on criminal charges?
                     HEARD/READ ABOUT TRAFFIC JAM Q7.......
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Reprimanded           6%     8%     4%     6%     4%     7%
Dismissed            45     54     40     45     44     45
Dismissed/Prosecuted 43     32     50     42     45     41
DK/NA                 7      5      7      8      7      7
 
 
13. (If heard or read q7) What should happen to Christie if it is proven that he ordered the traffic jam or knew what his aides were doing: he should apologize, he should be removed from office, or he should be removed from office and prosecuted on criminal charges?
                     HEARD/READ ABOUT TRAFFIC JAM Q7.......
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Apologize            27%    42%    17%    28%    28%    25%
Removed from office  32     24     38     32     32     32
Removed/Prosecuted   33     26     39     31     33     33
DK/NA                 8      8      7      9      7     10
 
 
14. (If heard or read q7) Do you think the George Washington Bridge scandal ends Christie's chances as a 2016 presidential contender, damages his chances, helps his chances or has no impact?
                     HEARD/READ ABOUT TRAFFIC JAM Q7.......
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Ends chances          7%     3%     9%     7%     7%     7%
Damages chances      49     40     61     45     51     47
Helps chances         2      1      1      3      2      1
No impact            38     53     25     40     36     40
DK/NA                 4      2      5      5      4      5
 
 

Demographic Summary