Christie starts re-election effort with 72% approval rating

Republicans in other states may not be too happy with Chris Christie’s embrace of Barack Obama during the response to Hurricane Sandy, but they are in New Jersey — and they’re not alone.  As the Garden State governor starts working on his re-election bid, Quinnipiac’s latest poll shows Christie with a 72% approval rating — and even a majority approval rating among Democrats:

New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie did an “excellent” or “good” job responding to Hurricane Sandy, 95 percent of Garden State voters say, as they give the governor a 72 – 21 percent approval rating, the highest score Quinnipiac University ever measured for a New Jersey governor, according to a poll released today.

Today’s score tops Christie’s previous high 59 – 36 percent job approval in an April 11 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University.

Even Democrats approve of the Republican governor 52 – 39 percent.

Christie rates even higher on his work with Obama during the hurricane’s aftermath:

Voters approve 84 – 12 percent, including 69 – 28 percent among Republicans, of Christie’s praise for President Barack Obama’s actions after Sandy. …

“Gov. Christopher Christie never looked more like a ‘Jersey Guy’ than when he stood on the Seaside boardwalk after Sandy, and, just about unanimously, his New Jersey neighbors – Republicans, Democrats, Independents – applauded,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

At least one year out, Christie has no apparent weak spots in the demographics. He scores a 55% approval rating from black voters, and 66% among Hispanics. Democrats won’t break 52/39 to Christie in an election, obviously, but they will have trouble convincing women to switch away, 70% of whom approve of Christie’s performance at the moment.  The lowest rating in the age demographics is among 18-29YOs, who approve of Christie’s performance 65/25.

A lot of things can change in a year, however.  Don’t forget that George H. W. Bush had approval ratings in the 80s after the conclusion of hostilities in Iraq in 1991, and the next year couldn’t even get 40% of the vote.  Still, those kind of numbers will be hard for the eventual Democratic nominee to overcome.  Most presume Newark mayor Cory Booker will challenge Christie, but if Christie’s approval ratings remain high, Booker might want to wait another four years.