By Darryl R. Isherwood | May 2nd, 2013 - 12:59pm
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Gov. Chris Christie’s approval rating remains in rarefied air, according to a new poll from Kean University.

According to the poll, 71 percent of respondents approve of the job the governor is doing against 28 percent who disapprove.  That number includes a healthy dose of Democrats, 61 percent of whom say they approve of the governor’s job performance.  

And there's more good new for the governor contained in the poll.  The perceived gender gap in his approval is no longer evident.

The governor's job approval hit 70 percent among men and 71 percent among women and more women (39 percent) strongly approve of the governor than men (36 percent).

Christie also carries heavy name recognition with six months to go in his re-election bid as 96 percent of respondents say they are either very familiar or somewhat familiar with the governor.  Tha’s a stark contrast to Christie’s opponent in the race, state Sen. Barbara Buono.  Just 35 percent of those polled say they are very familiar or somewhat familiar with the presumptive Democratic nominee, while a nearly equal number – 35 percent – said they were not at all familiar with Buono.

Christie fairs well on the presidential front as well with 41 percent of Republicans saying they would vote for him in the 2016 Presidential race.  Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio was a distant second at 18 percent.

On the Democratic side, two thirds of Democrats polled said they would vote for Hillary Clinton, while 13 percent said they would vote for Vice President Joe Biden.

“There’s a sense that the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination is Hillary Clinton’s for the asking,” said Terry Golway, director of the Kean University Center for History, Politics, and Policy. “This poll of New Jersey Democrats certainly confirms that thinking.”

Christie’s response to Super Storm Sandy will likely play heavily into the race as 88 percent of those polled said the state’s response would be important to how they vote.

The poll surveyed 1,000 likely voters in New Jersey, and was conducted April 25 and 29.

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