By Edith Honan
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Most New Jersey voters say Governor Chris Christie would be the wrong choice to be Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's running mate, a poll found on Tuesday.
Many voters in the state also say they view him as a bully even though they approve of Christie's job performance by a margin of 54 percent to 39 percent, according to the Quinnipiac University poll.
While a majority of New Jersey Republicans surveyed say he would be a strong vice presidential pick, overall 53 percent of voters say he would not.
Even as Christie's star has risen nationally, New Jersey voters have offered a negative view of his prospects outside the state.
"Politicians still gossip about the idea, but New Jerseyans think Christie would be a bad choice for VP," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Asked if the governor was more of a leader or a bully, half of the voters polled chose "leader" and 45 percent chose "bully."
But when asked to name a single word to describe the former federal prosecutor, "bully" was the most common choice, followed by "arrogant" and "tough."
The poll was published the same day the first-term governor was due to appear at fundraisers for Romney in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
Romney looks to be in the final stages of deciding who to pick as his running mate, with speculation growing that he has narrowed his choice down to three.
Ohio Senator Rob Portman, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal all offer strengths to Romney should he pick one of them to help him unseat President Barack Obama in the November 6 election.
Others thought to be under consideration include Christie, New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, South Dakota Senator John Thune and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan.
The poll of 1,623 registered voters from July 9-15 had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.
(Reporting by Edith Honan and Hilary Russ; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Xavier Briand)