CNN host Piers Morgan has joined the chorus of national voices asking Gov. Chris Christie if he’ll make a bid for the White House in 2012.
Although Christie said he wouldn’t, Morgan pressed him on the issue.
"Here's the thing. I don't understand why you wouldn't want to run this time. I mean, you've got the economy in tatters. Your record on that is pretty strong. You're admired for it. Your poll ratings have been going up," Morgan said in an interview with Christie on "Piers Morgan Tonight" that aired June 14.
Really? PolitiFact New Jersey decided to check if Christie’s poll ratings are increasing.
The publicist for "Piers Morgan Tonight" declined comment on Morgan’s claim.
We looked at two measurements with enough data available to compare over time: the governor’s job approval and favorability ratings -- and found that recently, the governor’s ratings have not increased.
Polls on job approval ratings conducted by Quinnipiac University, Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind and Monmouth University interview registered New Jersey voters.
Quinnipiac’s polls show Christie’s job approval rating climbed from 44 percent in June 2010 to 52 percent in February, before falling to 47 percent in April and then to 44 percent in June. Those polls had a margin of error between 2.4 and 2.7 percentage points.
PublicMind polls also show a recent decline. They put Christie’s job approval rating at 52 percent in the beginning of March 2010 and at 43 percent by the end of that month. By January it had climbed to 53 percent. By April it had dropped to 51 percent and in May it fell to 44 percent. The margins of error on those polls are between 3.5 and 4 percentage points.
Monmouth University/NJ Press Media polls showed the governor’s job approval rating at 42 percent in April 2010, 49 percent in February and 46 percent this May. Those polls had a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.
According to Rasmussen Reports polls, which survey likely New Jersey voters, Christie’s job approval rating was 53 percent in April 2010. In September 2010 it jumped to 57 percent. But a May poll shows it has leveled back off at 53 percent. Those polls had a 4.5 percentage point margin of error. Rasmussen is widely considered Republican-leaning.
Ben Dworkin, director of the the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University, noted that a poll is "just a scientific model of a particular moment in time" and that if a poll goes up or down a point or two "it can also be considered statistically the same thing." But, he said, if done well, polls can offer a pretty accurate portrayal of the public’s mood.
Dworkin also said that when people discuss whether poll ratings are increasing, "they are talking about from one poll to the next," unless they say otherwise.
We then spoke to the heads of three polling institutes to get their analyses of the data.
Patrick Murray, director of Monmouth University’s Polling Institute, and Peter Woolley, the executive director of PublicMind, both said Christie’s job approval ratings are not increasing.
Scott Rasmussen, founder of Rasmussen Reports, said the governor’s job approval ratings have been "pretty steady" since he took office.
We also looked at the governor’s favorability rating -- a measurement that focuses more on personal attributes than policy issues. We found two institutes that tracked that rating over time. PublicMind showed a drop from 47 percent to 40 percent between the most recent surveys and the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University showed a very slight dip. Both polling institutes show the rating going down when compared over a longer period of time.
Let’s review. Morgan said Christie’s poll ratings "have been going up."
Polls measuring the governor’s job approval and favorability ratings all show a dip in the numbers among the most recent surveys.
If we look at the same polls over a longer time frame, they show Christie’s ratings have remained relatively steady -- but staying even isn’t growth
For these reasons, we rate Morgan’s statement False.
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