Based on a recent Bloomberg poll of 1,302 adults in New Jersey, it’s a good thing Governor Chris Christie didn’t move into the gubernatorial residence down in Drumthwacket in Princeton. According to the survey, 53 percent of those polled view Christie as unfavorable, while 43 percent give him a favorable rating. 51 percent said they would not vote for Christie in the 2013 election. Further, 45 percent said their view of Christie had worsened since he took office.
The survey was conducted on June 20 – 23 for Bloomberg by Selzer & Co., a Des Moines, Iowa-based public-opinion research firm.
The reasons for Christie’s declining approval rating are more than abundant for Jerseyans. After campaigning on promises of “fiscal soundness,” Christie slashed $10 billion of spending in his first year, disposing of a $3 billion pension payment and money for schools and cities. He has made it abundantly clear that he thinks New Jersey’s teachers — and their tenure, pay and benefits — and the New Jersey Educators Association union, share a big part of the blame for the state’s budget woes. In contrast, New Jersey’s teachers, according to the survey, have a 76 percent approval rating. As a 61-year-old resident of Toms River on the Jersey shore says:
“Teachers I know got laid off because of him. He’s not in favor of the average working person.”
Other school support staff — administrators, aids, clerical staff, janitors — got laid off in my mid-size Jersey town. One of my former students lost her job teaching middle school English after one year due to Christie’s imperative of “fiscal soundness”; another finally got a full-time teaching job at a Catholic high school after looking for three years and working at Walgreen’s and Enterprise rental cars; another, out for two years, also works a couple of part-time jobs (including a part-time job at a Catholic elementary school and a job in the bakery department at the local grocery chain) and is still looking.
It’s no surprise why 65 percent of those polled gave a thumbs down to Christie’s education-spending reductions — reductions comprising the quality of New Jersey’s public schools — and only 31 percent approved.
Christie also campaigned on the notion that he was “just an ordinary Jersey guy.” But the poll suggests otherwise: 68 percent think Christie” stands with the business community,” while 22 percent said he sides with “ordinary New Jerseyans.” 65 percent see Christie as supporting property taxpayers over New Jersey’s 1.4 million public-school students and their needs. 58 percent disagree with Christie’s refusal to levy a “millionaire’s tax,” an extra tax on all incomes above $1 million that was approved by the New Jersey State Assembly and by the State Senate today.
Furthermore, 51 percent disapprove of Christie’s October cancellation of a much needed $8.7 billion rail tunnel under the Hudson River, another sign that Christie’s appeal to ordinary Jerseyans is wearing very thin. Many of us rely on public transportation to get to work.
Christie, of course, has other means, including that State Police helicopter he had transport him and his wife to their son’s baseball game earlier this month, and then back down to Princeton so Christie could meet with a cohort from Iowa about — well, probably not about his plans to run again for governor of New Jersey.
Bloomberg notes that “Christie often says he was elected to do a tough job, and he is governing as though he won’t win re-election,” perhaps because he has his sights set on something a bit bigger than politicking in New Jersey and even those expansive Drumthwacket digs.
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Photo by Bob Jagendorf