Poll: Christie gets high marks from New Jersey voters

A majority of New Jersey voters approve of the way Gov. Chris Christie (R) is handling his job, a new poll found Wednesday.

Support for Christie, a rising GOP star who's been talked about as a candidate on the 2012 Republican White House ticket, edged upward from a low point in December, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

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Fifty-two percent of New Jersey's registered voters said they approve of the way Christie is handling his job, while 40 percent disapprove. That's up from a much tighter, 46-44 percent poll before Christmas.

The poll suggests the Garden State Republican's numbers were unaffected by his decision to stay on vacation during a blizzard in New Jersey in late December. His actions drew criticism from some Democrats, who said he should have come back home to deal with the crisis.

But his numbers also suggest he could help carry the Republican brand in the typically Democratic state going into 2012. Christie's denied interest in running for president, though he's been more coy about whether he would accept the vice presidential nomination. He has, however, been more open to potentially running in 2016. He would have to win reelection first.

Republicans could benefit from Christie's popularity in the New Jersey Senate race next year. The GOP is hoping to beat Sen. Robert Menendez (D), though the first-term senator's numbers likewise enjoyed a bump in the Quinnipiac poll. Forty-four percent of voters said they approve of the way Menendez is handling his job, while 26 percent disapprove.

The poll, conducted Feb. 3-7, has a 2.7 percent margin of error.