Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Chris Christie is scheduled to give the annual State of the State address. The latest Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll released hours before the big speech revealed the governor’s popularity is near an all-time low.

Gov. Chris Christie speaks to voters at the Heritage Action Presidential Candidate Forum in South Carolina. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

In addition, a high percentage of the New Jersey voters who participated in the survey thought the state was headed in the wrong direction.

“Right now, 31 percent approve of the governor’s job performance compared with almost twice that or 59 percent who disapprove and we find that this is the highest that we’ve ever registered in terms of his disapproval numbers,” said Krista Jenkins, director of PublicMind and professor of political science at FDU.

Christie’s approval rating in an FDU PublicMind survey peaked at 77 percent in November 2012, immediately after Superstorm Sandy.

“Right now, 30 percent are okay with things as they are in New Jersey and 60 percent tell us they’re concerned. Again, this is the highest number that we’ve ever registered in regards to the percentage of people who are concerned with the direction the state is headed,” Jenkins said.

Poll respondents were also asked how Christie stacked up against former New Jersey governors:

  • 62 percent said Christie was indistinguishable from his Republican and Democratic predecessors;
  • 11 percent rated him as the best governor; and
  • Almost a 24 percent said he was the worst.

“If things go as well for him in a few weeks in New Hampshire as his supporters are hoping, he’s likely to receive more scrutiny in the press,” Jenkins explained. “Unhappiness among his constituents, coupled with serious concern about the direction of the state are trends any candidate would like to avoid.”

The poll showed New Jersey residents were not overwhelmed by Christie’s performances in GOP presidential debates:

  • 73 percent said they have followed the Republican debates very or somewhat closely;
  • Just over 35 percent believed Christie’s done an excellent or good job in the debates;
  • 63 percent rated his performances as fair or poor; and
  • 50 percent of Republicans thought the governor shined in the debates.

“It looks like Garden State voters believe New Jersey’s image transcends even the Governor’s ‘Telling it like it is’ campaign,” Jenkins said.

When poll participants were asked if Christie’s run for the White House was helping improve the image that outsiders have of the Garden State, they offered the following answers:

  • 56 percent believed the governor’s presidential run has done nothing to change the image;
  • 14 percent thought it has helped our image; and
  • 23 percent felt it has hurt New Jersey’s image.

The poll was conducted by phone from Jan. 4-10, 2016 among a random statewide sample of 780 self-identified registered voters. The margin of error is +/- 3.9 points.

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