Sixty percent (60%) of New Jersey voters say most of Republican Chris Christie’s winning support last week came from those who were voting against his opponent, incumbent Democratic Governor Jon Corzine.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the Garden State finds that just 22% think the Republican candidate won the race with support from those who were actually voting for him rather than against Corzine. Eighteen percent (18%) are not sure.
When pressed for specifics, 45% of voters in the state say the primary reason Christie was elected governor was dissatisfaction with Corzine’s job performance. Twenty-seven percent (27%) think the economy was the main reason for Christie’s victory, while 16% point to a general desire for change.
Only five percent (5%) name Christie’s campaign promises as the chief reason he was elected. Two percent (2%) attribute victory to his record as a prosecutor.
Voters are almost evenly divided in their opinions of Christie. While 49% have a favorable opinion of the governor-elect, 47% view him unfavorably. Those ratings are virtually identical to those in the last Rasmussen Reports survey in the state before Election Day.
Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters in the state say Christie’s first order of business as governor should be to cut government spending. Thirty-two percent (32%) say cutting personal taxes should be the new governor's priority, while 10% think he should cut business taxes first.
However, 86% of voters believe it will be difficult for Christie to fulfill his campaign promises working with a Democratic-controlled state senate and assembly. Forty-three percent (43%) say it will be very difficult. Just six percent (6%) of voters do not think Christie will have a difficult time fulfilling his promises.
But 51% do find it likely Christie will be able to root out and crack down on corruption as promised. Forty-four percent (44%) say it is not very or not all likely that he will be able to do so.
Voters are less confident in Christie’s ability to deal with the state’s struggling economy. Forty percent (40%) say it is at least somewhat likely that the new governor can improve the economy, but only seven percent (7%) say it is very likely. Fifty-four percent (54%) think it is unlikely.
Sixty-one percent (61%) also say it is not very or not at all likely Christie will be able to cut state property taxes, which are among the highest in the nation. Just 36% believe the governor-elect is at least somewhat likely to cut them.
Forty-two percent (42%) of voters say they learned the most about the gubernatorial candidates from television and radio news stories, followed by 34% who learned the most from newspaper articles.
Campaign TV ads and word of mouth were the primary source of information for four percent (4%) each, with candidate updates (2%) and candidate direct mail (1%) bringing up the rear.
Thirty-seven percent (37%) of New Jersey voters now approve of the job Corzine is doing as governor. Sixty-one percent (61%) disapprove. These numbers are down slightly from just before Election Day.
This poll is good news for Governor Elect Christie and bad news for the Democratic legislature. Voters' expectations are low for Christie, but the majority thinks that cutting spending should be his first priority. That is exactly what he is setting out to do.
Expectations were low for Christie when he started as U.S. Attorney and he surprised even those who believed in him them. I expect he will do the same as governor.