“Gov. Christie’s job approval rating improves to 51 percent.
Christie [gets] high marks for holding the line on spending.”
– Star Ledger headline and lead sentence on
Fairleigh Dickinson Poll – October 12, 2010
Polls: love ’em or hate ’em, but there is also more than one way to read ’em. A trend analysis which takes a longer view and accounts for changes in both approval and disapproval on the above two matters – Christie’s approval rating and holding the line on spending – provides a significantly different opinion than that which the newspaper heralds.
The governor’s approval rating has ranged from 52% to 43%. Since March 3, 2010, the reporting date of the first Fairleigh Dickinson poll after Christie took office, his approval rating worsened 1%, from 52% on March 3 to 51% now. His disapproval rating worsened 16%, from 21% to 37%. The net total damage to his approval is 17%. As time went on more respondents left the “unsure” or “I do not know” category and joined the disapproval category.
Since March 3 on the issue of “the state should hold the line on spending even if many programs are reduced,” Christie’s position worsened by 6%, from 66% on March 3 to 60% now. On the opposite issue of “the state should raise taxes if necessary and continue to support state programs,” the governor’s position worsened by 1% from 21% to 22% – net damage to his position 7%.
In spite of the fact that 51% approve his job performance and 60% support holding the line and reducing programs, the current trend is not favorable to Governor Christie. Be not of faint heart. The headline in this case may be positive for him but the bottom line trend is less so.