Christie Enjoys Massive Approval in N.J., Beats All Dem Challengers

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has enjoyed meteoric popularity in his home state since Hurricane Sandy, a new poll out today reveals.

The Quinnipiac University poll finds Christie, with a 74 percent approval rating, tied with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) as most popular out of all states surveyed.

Seventy-nine percent responded that Christie was right to criticize congressional Republicans for delaying a vote on Hurricane Sandy relief. Seventy percent of Republicans polled felt that way.

Christie's approval is 93-4 percent among Republicans, 56-37 percent among Democrats and 78-18 percent among independent voters. Men approve 79-18 percent while women approve 69-24 percent.

The governor deserves reelection, voters say 68 - 24 percent, with Democrats at 47 - 43 percent. Christie leads possible Democratic challengers by margins of 2-1 or higher; in hypothetical matchups, Christie takes 30 to 35 percent of the Democratic vote.

"2016 - here we come," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "First, of course, Gov. Christie has to get reelected this year. Right now, it doesn't look like a problem."

The poll of New Jersey voters also found that they want 89-year-old Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who celebrates his birthday today, to retire.

Looking forward to the 2014 Democratic U.S. Senate primary, Newark Mayor Cory Booker leads Lautenberg 51 - 30 percent.

Lautenberg gets a 50 percent approval rating, but 45 percent say he shouldn't be re-elected.

"Nothing but positive scores for Newark Mayor Cory Booker. U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg gets an OK job-approval rating and favorability, but voters don't think he should seek six more years in the Senate," Carroll said.