HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A new poll finds a steep drop in approval of Gov. Chris Christie’s handling of post-Superstorm Sandy relief efforts.
The Rutgers-Eagleton poll released Wednesday finds more New Jersey residents disapprove of the way Christie has handled recovery from Sandy.
Only 54 percent of New Jersey voters approve Christie’s efforts on Sandy, according to the poll. That’s down 15 points since January and a 26-point drop from last November.
“The drop is larger than anything we’ve seen on any of the issues we’ve polled on the governor throughout his term, but then again the jump up was also larger right after Sandy than anything we had seen before,” Poll Director David Redlawsk said.
Days after the storm, Christie won high praise and national recognition for how he responded, paving the way for a crushing re-election win.
But 16 months after Sandy, many New Jersey residents are still out of their homes and others are frustrated with the pace of storm recovery.
At a town hall meeting Tuesday in Toms River, Christie blamed the federal flood insurance program for some of the ongoing problems facing Sandy victims. He said it has done a lousy job at reimbursing residents for flood losses.
“The federal government keeps the checkbook,” he said. “They put all these regulations in place that you have to follow or you don’t get the federal money and these things are incredibly frustrating.”
The poll comes out during a rough time for the governor, who has been careful about his public appearance since the George Washington Bridge scandal erupted weeks ago.
Emails revealed his aides appeared to engineer lane closures at the bridge in September as political retribution against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing Christie’s re-election bid.
“What’s likely happening here is that voters have begun to question their support of the governor and as they hear the ‘Bridgegate’ allegations, they begin to wonder, ‘hey, what’s really going on here,'” Redlawsk said.
Federal authorities are also investigating allegations from Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who claims Christie’s administration withheld storm recovery funds in a bid to force her to approve a redevelopment project.
Meanwhile, Congress is making progress on flood insurance.
Concerned about the wrath of residents in flood prone areas, the House approved legislation Tuesday that would keep rates from rising.
The new law heads to the Senate, which passed its version in January.
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