Christie’s approval ratings sink to stink

IMG_2800TRENTON — Another poll, another bad sign for Gov. Chris Christie’s standing among New Jersey residents. The governor’s approval rating slipped to another all-time low, according to a new Quinnipiac University Poll released Wednesday. The survey found 64 percent of voters disapprove of the job Christie is doing, compared to only 29 percent who approve. The… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: May 18th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, New Jersey | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments »

Quinnipiac Poll: Bridgegate Takes Toll On Christie’s Presidential Poll Numbers

The Bridgegate controversy has had a significant negative effect on national voters opinions of Governor Chris Christie as a potential president, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released today.

The governor’s net favorable ratings have taken a 26 point hit since the December 11, 2013 Q Poll. Today, American voters have a favorable opinion of Christie by 33%-30% with 34% reserving judgement.  In December, 47% had a favorable opinion of Christie, 23% unfavorable and 28% said they hadn’t heard enough.

With 65% support from Democratic voters, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has no significant competition for the 2016 Democratic nomination for president.

Clinton would beat Christie is the 2016 election were today, by a 46%-38% margin.  In the December poll, Christie edged Clinton by 1 point, 41%-40%.

Christie’s support has weakened with Republicans nationally as well.  In December he lead the crowded field and had a 4 point lead over his closest competitor, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.  In today’s poll, Christie is in a statistical tie with Paul, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan and former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

The survey of 1933 registered voters was taken from January 15-19.  Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s allegations that the Christie Administration withheld Sandy Relief because he did not push through a development that Christie favored did not become public until the 18th and likely have little impact on today’s poll.

Posted: January 21st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: 2016 Presidential Politics | Tags: , , , , , , | 24 Comments »

Up By 33%, Christie Making a Push For Legislative Seats

Gov Chris Christie and Sen Brian Stack. Photo credit Mykwain Gainey, ChristieforNJ.com

Gov Chris Christie and Sen Brian Stack. Photo credit Mykwain Gainey, ChristieforNJ.com

A Quinnipiac poll released this morning indicates that Governor Chris Christie is running away with his race for reelection with 64% of the vote among likely voters, including support from 31% of Democratics.

More voters say they don’t know enough about Barbara Buono, the Middlesex County State Senator challenging Christie, than say they will vote for her.  35% say the have no opinion of her. 31% say they will vote for her.  Of those saying they will vote for Buono, 7% said there is a good chance they will change their minds before they cast their ballots.

48% said they would like to see Christie run for President of the United States.  41% said they would rather he didn’t run for President.

“From the banks of the Delaware to the beaches of the Atlantic, New Jersey voters like their governor, Christopher Christie.  On the banks of the Potomac?  Less like the governor, but still a lot” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

With his reelection virtually assured, Christie has devoted campaign resources to pick up three State Senate seats, according to a report in PolitickerNJ.

Democrats now control the 40 seat Senate 24-16 and have thwarted much of Christie’s reform agenda throughout his first term, including failing to confirm 5 of the 6 State Supreme Court nominees the governor has put forward. There are currently 3 vacancies on the Court.

If Christie’s help propels Republicans Peter Inverso (14th District, Mercer-Middlesex), David Stahl (18th District, Buono’s Middlesex seat) and Fernando Alonso (38th District, Bergen) into the Senate, Senator Tom Kean, JR could follow in his father’s footsteps by leading a New Jersey Legislative Chamber while being in the partisan minority. In 1972, four Democrats crossed the aisle to elect Thomas H. Kean Speaker of the General Assembly.

In order for Kean, JR to be elected Senate President in a 21-19 Democratic Senate, two Democrats would have to cross the aisle.  Hudson County’s Brian Stack and Essex County’s Teresa Ruiz would be the most likely to cross over.  Stack has endorsed Christie’s reelection.  Ruiz is the Deputy Chief of Staff to Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, a Democrat who has also endorsed Christie.


Posted: October 29th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: 2013 Election, 2013 Gubernatorial Politics, Chris Christie | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Did Christie’s Popularity Plunge 11 Points in One Week?

Which poll is closer to reality?  Quinnipiac or Monmouth?

How two respected independent pollsters could have such differing results for Governor Chris Christie’s approval ratings has been the subject of quite a bit of chatter this week since Monmouth University released their poll indicating that Christie’s ratings were 11 points lower than reported by the Qunnipiac poll released last week.  Quinnipiac reported Chrisite’s approval rating at 59%-36% while Monmouth said that 50% of registered voters approve of the job that Christie’s doing compared to 38% who do not.

There’s been enough buzz about the difference that Patrick Murray, Polling Director at Monmouth, posted a piece on his blog (cross posted on Politickernj), that took a swipe at Quinnipiac for framing their approval question in such a way that Christie’s numbers would be higher.  Murray said that because Quinnipiac first asked if Christie would be a good selection as a Vice Presidential nominee, respondents were more likely to give him higher marks when asked to evaluate his job performance.

Quinnipiac, on the other hand plays around with the order in which they ask the governor’s job rating question.  In 8 polls over the past year, they asked Gov. Christie’s job rating as the first question in 3 cases and the 3rd question in one case.  For the remaining four polls, the governor’s rating question was slotted from #10 and #13 in their questionnaire.

When it was the first question, the governor’s positive job rating was only 44% to 47%.  At the number 3 slot, it was 53%.  At #10 or later in the interview, it ranged from 55% to 59%.  It’s worth noting that the lower poll numbers came early last year, and were either closer to or even lower than other polls conducted at that time.  Hmmm.

In the most recent Quinnipiac poll, one of the questions preceding Gov. Christie’s rating presented him as a potential nominee for Vice President.  In other words, the survey framed the governor as a national figure before asking voters to rate his job performance.  Could this be why his rating among Republican voters in particular shot up to an astronomical 92%?

Pollsters know that job approval ratings can be impacted by the context of a poll interview.  That’s why most pollsters try to place these key trend questions in the same place in every questionnaire.  This increases our confidence that any changes in a politician’s ratings are due to real shifts in opinion and not an artifact of questionnaire inconsistencies.

I’m willing to venture that first naming Chris Christie as Mitt Romney’s potential running mate before asking New Jerseyans to rate their governor might have had a wee bit to do with the two polls’ divergent trends.

Mickey Carroll, Director of the Quinnipac Polling Institute, is not interested in getting into a pissing match with Murray.  “Patrick Murray is a very good pollster,” Carroll said three times in a seven minute phone interview with MMM.  “Every poll is different, something could have happened in the week in between the two polls,” Carroll said, “we asked the question the same way.”

When told that Murray said that Quinnipiac framed the approval question by first asking a question about Christie being a potential VP, Carroll said, “that could make a difference, but I think we asked the approval question first. Didn’t we?  Patrick Murray is a good pollster, a savvy analyst and a smart guy.”

Republican strategists, who would only speak on background, were quick to criticise Murray and side with Quinnipiac.

“The Quinnipiac poll from last week showing the Governor’s job approval at 59% is closer to reality,” said one strategist who cited internal GOP numbers,  “The problem with the Monmouth University poll is that it samples, ADULTS, rather than registered voters, or better still, likely voters.   It is cheaper and easier to poll adults, because there  are a lot more of them and they are easier to qualify.   It is harder, and more expensive, to find and poll a likely voter – especially a likely voter who votes in non-Presidential year elections.”

When told that Murray blamed the difference on how Quinnipiac framed the question, the same strategist said, “Patrick is out of his mind.”

In fairness to Murray, MMM verified that Quinnipiac and Monmouth both sample adults who then self identify as registered voters.  However, on their website Quinnipiac says that they ask screening questions, plural, to determine who is a registered voter.  Murray said Monmouth only asks one question to determine if a respondent is registered to vote or not. He said that 80% of his respondents tend to be voters.  78% of New Jersey adults are registered to vote.

In his blog post, Murray acknowledged that his Monmouth poll results are consistently more favorable to Democrats while Quinnipiac’s are consistently more favorable to Republicans.  MMM asked Murray how that could happen consistently if both polls were using random computer generated phone numbers.  “Is it how you weight the sample?” we asked. “That’s part of it,” Murray said, “the rest is that we (Monmouth) call a greater percentage of cell phones.  Cell phone users tend to be younger and more Democratic.”

With that answer, that weighting his samples more heavily towards Democrats and cell phone users, Murray seemed to be confirming the Republican complaints.

“That’s fine, I’m the only one who consistently asks the trend question in the same place,”  was Murray’s retort, “that’s polling 101.”

Another Republican strategist was more upset about how Murray wrote up his poll release that he was with the numbers.  “Political sands are shifting?” asked the Republican.   “It’s a margin of error shift!  Murray sounds like he is writing press releases for the Democratic State Committee, not acting as an independent pollster from an esteemed New Jersey university.”

A third Republican scoffed at the notion of even taking Murray’s numbers seriously, pointing out how badly Monmouth Gannett polled the 2009 gubernatorial race between Chrisite, former Governor Jon Corzine and Chris Daggett.  “Murray’s last poll in that election had Corzine winning by 2 points and Daggett getting 8% of the vote.  Christie won by 5 points a few days later.”

MMM set out to find a Democratic strategist to weigh in on the difference between the two polls, but no one would talk to us.  “Try Patrick Murray,” was the best answer we got.


Murray called shortly after this piece was posted to ask that if his 2009 gubernatorial results were going to be used against him, that his correct calling of the 2010 CD-6 congressional race also be mentioned. 

During the 2010 congressional race, MMM analysed a Monmouth Poll that indicated Congressman Frank Pallone was leading Anna Little by 11%.  MMM concluded, using Monmouth’s data, that Pallone’s lead should be 9%.  Murray agreed, “your turnout assumptions are as good as mine,” he said.  Things got funky when the Little campaign issued a press release announcing that Murray had revised his numbers based upon MMM’s analysis and that Pallone’s lead was then in single digits.  Murray issued a release stating that his “official” numbers hadn’t changed.  He issued a later poll that indicated Pallone’s lead was down to 7% and in the final days of the campaign said a Little victory “could well happen.”

When Pallone eventually won by 11%, Murray said he was right all along.

It was all great fun for MMM, except that Murray stopped taking our calls for a while.

In his call this afternoon, Murray reiterated that the primary difference between the recent Quinnipiac poll and his poll about Christie’s approval ratings, is that Quinnipiac changed their methodology by altering the order of the questions.

Regarding polling adults vs polling registered voters, Murray said he was not in the business of electing or reelecting any candidate.  He said his job is to report on what New Jersey residents are thinking.

Murray also said that his “poltical sands are shifting” comment in the poll release was a reference to New Jersey Democrats who being more aggressive in how than they go after Christie than they have been in the past.  It was not a reference to the public’s approval of Christie, he said.

Posted: April 19th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth University Poll, Quinnipiac poll | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Quinnipiac poll: New Jersey Supports Gay Marriage, Wants A Referendum

“The numbers are all over the lot.”

A Quinnipiac University Poll released this morning indicates that New Jersey voters support same sex marriage by a 57%-37% margin.  By 67%-28% respondents said they support Governor Christie’s proposal the issue be decided via referendum.

Voters are split, 48%-47%, over whether Christie did the right thing vetoing same sex marriage bill approved by the legislature earlier this year.

“The numbers are all over the lot,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, “Voter support for same-sex marriage goes up every time we ask, but about half of them think Christie was right to veto it.  By better than 2-1, they like the governor’s proposal for a referendum.”

The numbers seem to be all over the lot on education reform as well.

By 50%-43% voters approve of the way Christie is handling education. 60% think limiting teacher tenure is a good idea and 72% think merit pay for good teachers is a good idea.   Yet voters oppose school vouchers by 50%-44% and oppose expanding charter schools by 52%-41%.

New Jersey voters have a positive view of public school teachers, 57%-25% but an unfavorable view of the teachers union, NJEA, by a 46%-31%.  Only 42% of union households have a favorable view of the NJEA.

Posted: March 1st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Education, Gay Marriage, marriage, Marriage Equality, Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act, New Jersey | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Quinnipiac poll: New Jersey Supports Gay Marriage, Wants A Referendum