Brenden Cusack, a self-described “liberal independent” from Atlantic Highlands, said he is looking for a candidate who is willing to cross party lines, even where doing so means angering one’s own partisans. He said he hasn’t seen that in Christie. Moreover, he says the governor’s demeanor is not going to win over many independents.

“He tends to play favorites and if you get on his bad side — even if you’re trying to do good by your constituents, he seems to hold personal grudges,” Cusack said.

If Christie stays away from “sit down and shut up” moments along the campaign trail, he could clear a major hurdle. Other New Jersey residents wonder how his attitude will play in parts of the nation that are not used to his style.

“I’d be very interested to see what voters in Florida or South Carolina or Wisconsin would think of our governor,” said Eric Seldner of Eatontown. “He’s a stereotype of New Jersey, with a very brash attitude.”