How Unpopular has Gov. Christie Become?
During his first term as governor, Chris Christie became wildly popular, but over the past year and a half, after Bridgegate and a sluggish state economy that's still struggling, he's got his lowest approval ratings ever.
A recent Monmouth University poll shows 35 percent of respondents approve of the job Christie is doing, while 54 percent disapprove.
Another poll conducted by Quinnipiac University revealed that 38 percent of voters approved of the job Christie is doing, while 56 percent gave him a thumbs down.
Things are so bad that there is now speculation Christie's low approval numbers could be a liability for the next GOP gubernatorial candidate in the Garden State.
"Because Gov. Christie is so unpopular, it's going to be that much tougher for the next Republican gubernatorial nominee to run on the Christie record. I think the bottom line is that it's going to be very difficult for republicans to run away from the Christie legacy," said Ben Dworkin, a political science professor and director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University.
He said it's not that there haven't been significant accomplishments during Christie's time in office, even though the governor himself is more unpopular than ever before.
"The next Republican nominee can't run away from the Christie administration and the Christie legacy. That nominee is going to have to embrace it because there's no way to escape it," Dworkin said. "This is what republican leadership has meant in New Jersey for the past several years, and they're going to have to say here's how I'm going to build on it, and improve it."
Dworkin also believes it's doubtful Christie's low approval numbers will have any impact on the legislative races that will take place in the fall.
"There are 40 legislative districts in New Jersey, maybe three out of the 40 will have seriously competitive races," he said. "These districts have been gerrymandered to favor either the Democrats or Republicans -- that will be the dominant factor in who wins."
He also said even though Democratic State Senate President Steve Sweeney has distanced himself from Christie for quite some time now, as he continues to mull a run for governor, his previously friendly relationship with the Republican governor could come back to haunt him.
"Other Democratic candidates are likely to use Sweeney's strong working relationship with the governor in those first few years, as an albatross to hang around his neck," Dworkin said. "It's not that a republican can't win, democrats can certainly blow it, there are bad candidates born every day, we'll have to see how it all plays out."