Christie Medicaid move helping him at home
(CNN) — It may not help him if he decides to run for the Republican presidential nomination, but a new poll suggests that Gov. Chris Christie's recent decision to accept Medicaid expansion as part of President Barack Obama's health care law is playing well at home in New Jersey, where Christie is up for re-election this November.
According to a Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind survey, nearly seven in 10 registered voters in the Garden State say that Christie's controversial decision to accept federal funding for the expansion of Medicaid to provide health care for those currently uninsured was the right move for New Jersey.
Late last month Christie became the eighth GOP governor to sign on to the plan, which has also been rejected by some high-profile state chief executives still at odds with the politically charged law known as Obamacare. Many Republicans view parts of the law, including its individual requirement to obtain health insurance, as government overreach.
Christie himself remains opposed to the law, but explained to skeptics that refusing the federal dollars would put other states ahead of his own.
"I am no fan of the Affordable Care Act," Christie last month. "I think it's wrong for New Jersey and wrong for America. I fought against it, and believe in the long run it will not achieve what it promises. However, it is now the law of the land."
Christie said accepting the Medicaid expansion would save taxpayers in his state $227 million.
The poll, released Tuesday, indicates that support for Christie's Medicaid decision crossed party lines in New Jersey.
"Although nationally the Republican governor has been criticized by some for opting New Jersey into the Affordable Care Act through Medicaid, Garden Staters of all political stripes are solidly behind his decision," said Krista Jenkins, director of PublicMind and professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University. "Support for the acceptance breaks slightly along party lines with 86 percent of Democrats and 49 percent of Republicans saying they think it's a good decision for the state."
According to the survey, two-thirds of New Jersey voters say they approve of the overall job Christie is doing as governor. And his overall approval also continues to transcend party lines, with 55% of Democrats and 61% of independents joining the 83% of Republicans who give the tough-talking governor a thumbs up.
Christie's approval rating skyrocketed in a slew of polls starting in November, thanks in part to the governor's very active response to Superstorm Sandy, which struck the Garden State in late October and caused severe damage.
As with previous surveys, the new poll indicates that Christie had a huge lead over state Sen. Barbara Buono, who Democrats have rallied behind as the consensus challenger to the Republican governor.
According to the survey, if the November election were held today, 58% would back Christie, with 22% supporting Buono and one in five undecided.
The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll was conducted March 4-10, with 702 registered voters in New Jersey questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.