TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Gov. Chris Christie’s approval rating has hit a new low.
Just 21 percent of registered voters surveyed approve of the job Christie is doing, while 62 percent disapprove, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind survey published Wednesday. It’s the lowest approval rating yet for the governor, who had 26 percent in the same poll in June.
The survey comes on the same day as the final presidential debate between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton. Christie is a top surrogate and chairman of the transition team for Trump, who has come under fire since the release of a 2005 video in which he was recorded making lewd and sexually charged comments about women.
Christie addressed the video while appearing on WFAN as a guest co-host on “Boomer & Carton.” He called it “indefensible,” but said he is still supporting the Republican nominee.
The poll also found that 7 in 10 New Jersey residents are following the trial of two former allies of the governor who face federal charges in the closing of toll lanes on the George Washington Bridge for political purposes. Fifty-two percent said they think there is sufficient proof that the governor knew about the closures and didn’t stop them.
“The Bridgegate trial and its fallout is clearly hurting the governor. With both sides arguing that the governor was aware of the political retaliation plan, voters are having a hard time coming up with reasons to believe his claims of innocence,” said Krista Jenkins, professor of political science and director of PublicMind.
Christie denies wrongdoing and has not been charged with a crime. A taxpayer-funded report also found no proof Christie was involved in the scheme that closed down lanes to the bridge in Fort Lee over the Democratic mayor’s failure to endorse the Republican governor for re-election in 2013.
The poll surveyed 848 registered voters on Oct. 12-16. Christie signed legislation authorizing an unpopular 23-cent-per-gallon hike in the state’s gas tax on Oct. 14. The legislation also authorized an eight-year $16 billion transportation trust fund and cut other taxes, including the sales and estate taxes.
Christie previously suggested he wasn’t worried about falling poll numbers, saying he would get to work as governor and the numbers would turn around.
The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
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