August 12, 2014 | Number of The Day

Voters approve of Christie but when it comes to his agenda – not so much

Do New Jerseyans like Gov. Chris Christie’s personality more than his agenda? That could be the case, according to recent polls.

While a new Rutgers-Eagleton poll shows Christie’s approval rating still higher than his disapprovals (52 percent vs. 41 percent), when those same voters were asked about whether they approved of his performance on specific issues, only his handling of Sandy gets a thumbs up (59 percent).

More respondents disapproved than approved of his handling of the economy (50 percent disapprove), taxes (57 percent disapprove), education and schools (47 percent disapprove), the state budget (46 percent disapprove) and the state pension fund crisis (53 percent disapprove.)

While just 34 percent disapprove of his handling of crime and drugs, only 48 percent approve and 18 percent said they didn’t know.

A similar poll conducted by Quinnipiac University asked New Jerseyans what they thought of Christie’s “No Pain, No Gain” solution to the pension crisis and his program for bail reform.

Bail reform is a big winner – maybe because both Republicans and Democrats support it. Respondents were 4 to 1 in agreement with Christie that suspects believed to be dangerous can be held without bail and those deemed not to be dangerous can be released without cash bail.

However, when asked about Christie’s pension solutions, 50 percent to 41 percent said they disagreed with his decision to reduce the amount paid into the pension fund. Indeed, a major of voters, including 46 percent of Republicans, said Christie should use a combination of increased taxes and reduced payments to solve the dilemma.