New Jersey voters are fans of their Republican governor, Chris Christie, but they're not as keen on the idea of the state's outspoken chief potentially running for president in 2016, a new survey indicates.
The Quinnipiac University poll also shows that the governor's weight is of little concern to Garden State voters, despite the strong attention surrounding his size and his possible bid for the White House.
According the poll released Tuesday, 70% of voters approve of the job Christie is doing in office, another high number for the first-term governor who's up for re-election this year.
He comes out far ahead of his likely Democratic opponent, state Sen. Barbara Buono, by a margin of 60% to 25% in the typically-blue state. The governor has received wide acclaim for his handling of the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, which slammed into New Jersey's coast last fall. And 66% of voters, including 44% of Democrats, believe the GOP governor deserves re-election.
On the question of how Christie would fare as president, however, voters are more divided. Forty-one percent favor the idea, while 44% disagree that he would succeed in the White House. Less than half of voters--46%--would like to see their governor throw his hat in the 2016 ring, an election that would come in the middle of his second term, while 47% prefer that he stay in the state's capitol.
"New Jersey voters rate Gov. Christopher Christie's performance in Trenton at his now- routine astronomical level," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Would he shine as brightly in Washington? New Jerseyans' views are mixed. Ditto on whether he should run for president in 2016."
Nationwide, GOP voters feel slightly different. Multiple recent polls indicate Christie would be either the leading choice or among the top picks for the Republican nomination for president in 2016.
Asked how New Jersey voters feel about having an overweight governor, nearly two-thirds--64%--are comfortable with overweight candidate, while 17% have some reservations and 4% are very uncomfortable, the poll shows. A tiny amount--4%--are enthusiastic about it.
The governor is known for poking fun at his own weight, though he's acknowledged that he needs to make some changes. At a press conference in February, the 50-year-old said that he and his doctors did have a plan for his health, and "whether it'll be successful or not, you'll all be able to notice."
"My doctor continues to warn me that my luck is going to run out relatively soon, so believe me it's something I'm very conscious of," he said.
For the poll, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,129 registered New Jersey voters by telephone from March 19 through 24, with a sampling error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.