During his first four years as New Jersey's governor, Chris Christie was extremely popular, but after the Bridgegate lane closure scandal took center stage 10 months ago, the governor's approval numbers started sliding.

Governor’s Office, Tim Larsen

His poll numbers have dipped so low that for the first time, more Garden State voters now disapprove of the job he's doing than approve - but in the world of politics, that might not be as bad as it sounds.

In fact, if Christie winds up seeking the Republican nomination for president, it could actually help him.

According to Montclair State University political science professor Dr. Brigid Harrison, the governor's drooping approval numbers may actually make him more attractive to voters in Republican primary states like Iowa.

"They may look at those numbers and say, ah, liberals in the state of New Jersey don't like this governor, and so therefore maybe I should give him a second look," she said. "They may think if he's too conservative for New Jersayans maybe his ideology matches my ideology."

Harrison said New Jersey is regarded as a Democratic liberal state and many people in other parts of the country tend to have a negative view of it.

"When we're talking about winning Republican primaries in these primarily red states, they may see popularity in the state of New Jersey as almost the kiss of death," she said.

Harrison said many pollsters considered Christie's high approval numbers before Bridgegate unsustainable.

"And now I think when you look at his numbers they're a bit more realistic," she said. "They're not bad numbers,especially when compared with the approval numbers some other governors have. I think some of his colleagues would be even a little envious of his numbers.

She also said if you compare Christie's numbers with that of past governors, "he still tends to be among the most popular."