(CNN) – More New Jersey voters say the outspoken Republican governor of their state is a leader rather than a bully, according to a poll released Tuesday.
Fifty percent of voters surveyed in the Quinnipiac University poll described Gov. Chris Christie as a leader, compared to 45% who said he was a bully. The "leader" rating is down slightly from April, when 54% said Christie was a leader and 39% said he was a bully.
A few well-publicized outbursts from Christie since April may have contributed to the drop in the "leader" rating. At the end of June, Christie asked a reporter "Are you stupid" after being asked an off-topic question at a press conference, and he was caught on video yelling at a heckler in July.
"Gov. Christopher Christie's squabble on the Seaside boardwalk – shades of Snooki! – underlined his pugnacious 'Jersey Guy' image with some voters, who volunteered that he's a bully. But most of his fellow New Jerseyans call him a leader," Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, wrote in a release accompanying the poll's release.
Overall, a majority of voters in New Jersey – 65% - say the tone and level of civility in Garden State politics is negative, though 60% say the tone is the same as in Washington. Twelve percent say New Jersey politics are more negative than in the nation's capital, compared to 23% who say the situation in New Jersey is better.
Christie, who declined to make his own bid for the GOP presidential nomination, would be a bad choice for Mitt Romney's running mate, a majority of the New Jersey voters said. Fifty-three percent said he'd make a bad vice presidential choice, and 40% said he would make a good pick.
"Politicians still gossip about the idea, but New Jerseyans think Christie would be a bad choice for VP," Carroll said. "The Gov's job approval number holds comfortably above 50 percent and voters like him and his policies."
The Quinnipiac University poll was conduced by telephone from 1,623 registered voters between July 9-15. The sampling error was plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.