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NJ Gov. Christie's Focus: Rebuilding, Re-election

The Rutgers-Eagleton poll also found the number of voters opposed to Christie's re-election declined from nearly half in September to about a third now.

Christie wins every hypothetical head-to-head matchup measured in the poll, including against Booker, who the poll has losing 34-53 percent with 13 percent choosing neither.

Christie carried the Democratic-leaning state by 86,000 votes in 2009, an upset win over Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine.

Christie, who has become a national figure during his first term, is riding an unprecedented wave of popularity because of how he handled the storm, which he said Friday had caused more than $29 billion in damage in New Jersey. Even Democrats have applauded his hands-on response. He appeared on "Saturday Night Live" in his trademark fleece pullover this month to lampoon his own nationally televised storm briefings.

About the only criticism directed his way since Superstorm Sandy attacked the coast in late October has come from fellow Republicans who have lambasted him for embracing President Barack Obama as the two toured New Jersey's ravaged coastline six days before the presidential election. Some even blame Christie for tipping a close election to the president.

Christie was the first governor to endorse Mitt Romney; he raised $18.2 million for the GOP nominee and crisscrossed the country as an in-demand surrogate for Republican candidates. Some are still questioning his party loyalty, however, as they did after Christie delivered the keynote address at the party's nominating convention in Tampa. Critics saw that August speech as too much about Christie and not enough about Romney.

The prospect of Christie seeking a second term became likely after he spurned overtures by Republican bigwigs to enter the 2012 presidential contest and more so when he later ruled himself out as vice presidential material with a resounding "I love the job I have now." Buzz over a Christie 2016 run has become muted since the governor boarded Marine One with Obama.

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