It's good to be New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. A new Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday shows the Republican with a sky-high approval rating of 74 percent -- the highest a Garden State governor has ever recorded in the 17-year history of the Quinnipiac poll -- and he leads his likely Democratic opponent, state Sen. Barbara Buono, by 37 percentage points.
The new survey is just the latest indication that the bounce Christie received following Hurricane Sandy has yet to recede. In mid-October, his approval rating stood at a solid 56 percent, but that pales in comparison to his current poll numbers.
"Most governors would kill for a 56 percent job approval rating," said Mickey Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Christie gets that from Democrats!"
Christie leads Buono in this November's general election, 62 percent to 25 percent, the poll shows. Buono does lead among Democrats, 51 percent to 31 percent, but that is almost entirely based on party cues. Respondents were told that Buono is a Democrat, and Christie is a Republican.
The vast majority of voters, 83 percent, say they don't know enough about Buono to have an opinion of her, including 81 percent of Democrats. The percentage of voters who have no opinion of Buono has remained in the low-80s in the three polls Quinnipiac has conducted since November of last year.
The poll does contain some bad news for Christie. Asked whom they would support in a 2016 presidential matchup between Christie and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 49 percent of Jersey voters choose Clinton, compared to just 45 percent for Christie. But Christie fares much better against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, leading 54 percent to 36 percent.
The poll was conducted Feb. 13-17, surveying 1,149 registered voters. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 2.9 percentage points.