BY GINA G. SCALA
Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s unshakeable handling of Hurricane Sandy has elevated his favorability rating with Garden State voters on both sides of the political arena to 67 percent, according to a new poll.
The Rutgers-Eagleton poll, released today, shows the governor’s 19 percentage point jump in the aftermath of Sandy. Historically, his ratings are between 44 and 50 percent, David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and a political science professor at Rutgers University, said.
"Throughout the governor's term, we've had little movement in his ratings. This just blows that out of the water," he said.
The poll found more than 90 percent commended the governor for his handling of the storm: 69 percent say Christie handled the crisis “very well” and another 23 percent say he handled it “somewhat well.”
Christie’s strongest support is from those residents in the areas most profoundly impacted by the hurricane, according to the poll. More than 80 percent of Jersey Shore residents say Christie handled the crisis very well, as do 76 percent of northwestern New Jersey residents. In each area, Christie enjoys more than 60 percent of support because of his actions.
The governor is also earning high marks from New Yorkers for his handling of the storm, which decimated much of the Jersey Shore and Breezy Point in Queens. A Quinnipiac University poll, released Tuesday, revealed nine out of 10 New Yorkers gave Christie high marks for dealing with the consequences of Sandy.
But Christie, a born and raised Jersey boy, irritated some of his own party members after he extolled President Barack Obama’s response to the storm. Some have gone as far as to blame Christie for Obama’s re-election victory.
"Governor Christie has emerged as a clear leader in this crisis, with New Jerseyans applauding
his efforts, and in particular his literal and figurative embrace of President Obama in a time of need," Redlawsk said. "Despite a recent New York Times story that some national GOP leaders are condemning the governor for his show of bipartisanship, New Jerseyans of all stripes say it was exactly the right thing to do."
The Rutgers-Eagleton survey of 1,228 New Jerseyans was conducted over land lines and cell phones from Nov. 14 to 17 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.