(CNN) - Three straight surveys over the past 24 hours indicate Chris Christie's poll numbers as governor of New Jersey are skyrocketing, thanks to his job responding to the devastating superstorm Sandy.
According to a Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday morning, 72% of Garden State voters give the first term Republican governor a thumbs up on the job he's doing in office, a 16-point jump since before the storm struck the state in late October.
- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
The poll's release comes one day after Christie announced his bid next year for a second term as New Jersey governor. Earlier Monday a Fairleigh Dickinson University survey indicated Christie's approval rating stood at 77%, a twenty-one point spike since late October. And his favorable impression jumped 19 points to 67% in a new Rutgers-Eagleton survey.
In announcing his bid for re-election, Christie told local reporters that he needed to continue leading his state in the aftermath of the powerful storm, which severely damaged parts of New Jersey.
"The public needs to know that I'm in this for the long haul. The person who has helped to lead them through the initial crisis wants to be here to lead them through the rebuilding and restoration of our state," he said at the news conference. "It would be wrong for me to leave now. I don't want to leave now. We have a job to do."
Christie also announced that he filed documents to set in motion his re-election bid. The filing of papers allows Christie to set up his campaign, raise re-election funds, and hire staff.
Fifty-nine percent of New Jersey registered voters support a second term for Christie, while only 32% oppose his re-election, according to the Rutgers-Eagleton poll.
In both the Quinnipiac and Fairleigh Dickenson polls, a major factor in the jump in Christie's overall approval rating was a big rise in support from Democrats.
"Gov. Christopher Christie never looked more like a 'Jersey Guy' than when he stood on the Seaside boardwalk after Sandy, and, just about unanimously, his New Jersey neighbors – Republicans, Democrats, Independents – applauded," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "The Gov gets sky-high marks from the cities, the Shore, from every corner of the state."
Christie was a top surrogate for Mitt Romney during the presidential campaign, and was seriously considered as a potential running mate for the GOP nominee. However he came under fire from some Republicans following Romney's loss for his appearance with President Barack Obama in New Jersey during the storm's aftermath, and for his praise of the president and the federal government's assistance to New Jersey immediately after the storm.
According to the Quinnipiac poll, the vast majority of New Jersey voters, including two-thirds of Republicans, think the GOP criticism of Christie is "nonsense."
The news Monday that Christie will launch a re-election bid was widely expected. Much of the electoral guesswork in New Jersey now focuses on which Democrat will challenge Christie next fall, with much of the speculation centered on two-term Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who's seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party. Newark's Democratic mayor said in mid-November his decision on running for governor has been pushed back because of Sandy.
Others considering bids are state Sen. Richard Codey - who served as governor for 14 months following the November 2004 resignation of then–Gov. Jim McGreevey – as well as State Sen. Barbara Buono and Assembly member Lou Greenwald.
According to the Rutgers-Eagleton poll, Christie has large leads over all of his possible Democratic challengers in hypothetical 2013 general election matchups.
New Jersey and Virginia are the only two states to hold gubernatorial contests in the year after a presidential election. Because they are the only games in town, they often receive outsized attention.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted November 19-25, with 1,664 New Jersey registered voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.
The Rutgers-Eagleton poll was conducted November 14-17, with 1,108 New Jersey registered voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.
Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN