TRENTON, N.J. -- Gov. Chris Christie says public outcry over his decision to lounge with his family on a public beach that was closed during New Jersey's government shutdown "upset" his children more than anything else since he's been in office.
The two-term Republican governor made the comments Thursday night during his regular radio call-in show on 101.5 FM.
Christie was photographed over the Fourth of July weekend by NJ.com at Island Beach State Park, where the state provides a summer home to the governor. Christie ordered the shutdown of nonessential state government, including state beaches and parks, amid a budget impasse.
He said during Thursday's radio show that his family was hurt by the backlash and "they don't understand people's unfairness and, quite frankly, their ignorance."
The survey found that 15 percent of New Jersey constituents approved of the job Christie was doing as their governor, while 80 percent disapproved.
A majority of residents polled -- 55 percent -- also said the state was worse off because of Christie's time in office; an increase from just one year ago when 41 percent shared this sentiment, and just 15 percent said New Jersey was better off.
"It really is difficult to drive approval ratings into the single digits, barring something like a criminal conviction. However, you have to admire Christie's seeming tenacity for trying to get his numbers down to that level," said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
When asked about "beach gate", two-thirds of Garden State residents showed negative views about Christie's day at the beach. Respondents were asked to describe how the images of Christie lounging on the beach with his family made them feel. The word "disgusted" was most commonly used, representing 7 percent of the responses, followed by "anger" and "disbelief."