Will They Still Love Him Next November?

Governor Christie has announced he will run for re-election in 2013, saying, “I’m in this for the long haul,” which might mean only until one or two years before the next presidential election. Nonetheless, he has entered the fray.

Following Hurricane Sandy, the polls have shown a dramatic increase in support for Governor Christie. In a Fairleigh Dickinson poll respondents on an approval/disapproval question gave Christie 77% “approval” and 16% “disapproval.” Using a broader-based ranking scheme, 28% said he was doing an “excellent job,” 42% said a “good job,” 21% said “fair,” and  7% said “poor.”

Today’s Rutgers-Eagleton poll shows 67% of respondents have a favorable impression of him and 25% have an unfavorable impression. On the broader scale for rating his job performance from “A” through “F,” he received 28% for “A,” 33% for “B,” 22% for “C,” 11% for “D,” and 5% for “F.” The two polls yield fairly similar results and testify to his current popularity.

It’s probably difficult to impossible to maintain such a high level of approval. Even before Sandy he projected a wildly unrealistic increase in state revenue which has not materialized. He will have to make unpopular cuts in the current and next budget to accomodate reduced revenue and increased expenses. He will face pitfalls in the Sandy reconstruction effort. The positions he takes on the Affordable Care Act, Supreme Court appointments, and social issues will have an impact. His big mouth, temper and nastiness may return.

The question remains, “Will they still love him next November?” And if not, “Why not?” Let us know what you think.

Comments (15)

  1. deciminyan

    The first thing reporters should ask him is whether he intends to serve a complete second term. This is important because if Christie decides to make a run for the White House, New Jersey inherits a Lieutenant Governor with lots of ethical baggage. Will decisions that Christie makes be more geared toward his presidential ambitions and less toward the interests of New Jerseyans? (examples: his unilateral withdrawl from RGGI, his unilateral killing of the ARC tunnel and its tens of thousands of NJ jobs and infrastructure investment)

    Voters need to know.

  2. 12mileseastofTrenton

    But he’ll remain the favorite.

  3. A New Jersey Farmer

    Why take the chance this year? Go for Lautenberg’s seat in 2014.

  4. 12mileseastofTrenton

    Christie 53  Booker  35

    57-30 over Codey

    61-23 over Buono

    62-21 over Wisnewski

    62-20 over Greenwald


  5. CarvedNStoneDem

    ” His big mouth, temper and nastiness may return.” Of course it will, he’s a 12 year old, he can’t help himself.

  6. Bill Orr (Post author)

    See Matt Friedman’s article today: Post-Sandy polling won’t carry Christie to re-election. The governor’s top political advisor Michael DuHaime acknowledged “re-election is not assured in a state where Democrats hold a sizable advantage over Republicans among registered voters.”  Assemblyman Joe Cryan, a former State Democratic Chair, said, “It may be a blue state, but it requires a unified Democratic Party to have any sort of chance at unseating the governor. Right now, the Democratic Party is anything but united, both by geography and philosophy.”

  7. Bertin Lefkovic

    The Democratic Party is divided.  The bosses control 12-14 of 21 county party lines.  There will either be a hotly contested primary election between a sacificial lamb candidate like Chris Bollwage or John Wisniewski and an insurgent candidate like Barbara Buono or Dick Codey or Christie will decide to run for re-election as a Democrat with the blessing of the bosses, Cory Booker, and Barack Obama.

    Christie could face a primary challenge from Buono or Codey, but it is more likely that Buono is bought off by being brought back into the leadership fold as the state’s first ever female Senate President, made possible by Steve Sweeney being Christie’s LG and Codey backs off and simply runs for re-election.

  8. 12mileseastofTrenton
  9. tabbycat31

    I know you’ve suggested it a few times but party switching is very rare, especially in a state like NJ with partisan voter registration.  And party switchers don’t exactly have the best record in the general either.  

    Unless a Steve Lonegan or Anna Little decide to teabag Christie in the primary (could happen) then he’s the Republican nominee.  

    I know this might be unpopular, but as a political nomad coming off her fourth campaign, nothing drives me crazier than Democrats fighting each other, especially progressives vs the establishment (some of these progressives are worse than the tea party).  As a Democrat, I am looking for the candidate who is best off in a statewide election to run against Christie.  I just want the electable candidate, not a progressive who stands for party principles and will get his/her ass kicked in the general.  

  10. Bertin Lefkovic

    …than Democrats who are more focused on winning elections than governing progressively.  Maybe if you weren’t such a political nomad, you would be more aware of the fact that for the last three years, our Democratic legislative majorities have been part of a center-right coalition with Christie, supporting his agenda more often that not.

    The fact that you would write that any progressive could be worse than the TPM proves your cluelessness about what is going on in our state.  If anything, the opposite is true and progressives could learn a thing or two from the TPM about how to put the fear of a contested primary election in the hearts of the Democratic establishment.

    The fact of the matter is that it really doesn’t matter if Christie runs as a Democrat or a Republican.  The Democratic establishment helped him beat Jon Corzine in 2009 and they will do it again next year either by running a sacrificial lamb like Chris Bollwage or John Wisniewski against him or by allowing him to run as a Democrat.

    The main reason why Christie might consider running as a Democrat next year is because he has no future at the national level as a Republican, but if he wanted to run for President in 2016 on a bipartisan Americans Elect ticket, it could serve the narrative better, but he could just as easily do that after running for re-election as a Republican.

    Aside from the narrative, there are better VP options for him running as a conservative Democrat with a moderate Republican like Chuck Hagel, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, or Dick Lugar than if he ran as a moderate Republican with a conservative Democrat like Evan Bayh, Jane Harman, or Blanche Lincoln.

  11. Bertin Lefkovic

    It is always good to know that I can count on you for constructive criticism and engaging dialogue.

  12. tabbycat31

    I am a campaign staffer.  Being a political nomad pays my bills and keeps me fed.  I did work a cycle in New Jersey last year.  My first choice every year has been to work in New Jersey, but things don’t always work out the way I planned them, so I am flexible when it comes to my assignments.  (Usually the progressives in office are in safe Democratic districts therefore their campaigns don’t put resources into their staff so I have yet to work in a progressive district).  

    As a field director, my job involves figuring out how many votes we need to win the given race, and finding the votes by volunteers reaching out to voters.  I’ve worked for candidates where the base would not volunteer and has been the problem.  In some districts (such as the last one I worked in), progressives are simply not electable.  I know I’d rather have a Democrat that votes with the party 90% of the time than a Republican who is a 0% vote.  

    I know my field organizers (and myself when I was a FO) have had problem with the person who would not volunteer because of where he stands on XYZ.  Sometimes reaching out to the base is more difficult than reaching out to the undecided voters.  

    The last candidate I worked for was a progressive in a district that President Obama lost by 21 points in 2008.  (This particular district is one that is designed for a Blue Dog– in fact one held the seat from 1982-2010.) Knowing that, if you were him do you happily run as a sacrificial lamb or do you make yourself appear more moderate in order to win the seat?  (Note– thanks to redistricting, it looks like I will be voting for sacrificial lambs until 2020 so I know what that’s like).  

    As for Christie running as a Democrat– do you have any other source that says he might do that or are you just pulling that out of thin air?  

    If I do not respond right away, I am on my way to a conference in DC and will respond when I get home.

  13. Erik Preuss

    Keep in mind you need 270 Electoral votes to be elected president, not the most electoral votes but a majority. Thats not feasible running with Americans Elect, and Christie knows that.

    Additionally, I’ve scoured the web trying to find something that suggests he would run as a Democrat, and it isn’t there. It isn’t going to happen, and I don’t think there is really any reason to think his Republican Nominee hopes are dead. If the Republicans trot out the same clown car of candidates in 4 years, he will have no problem cutting through them no matter what he says about the President.

    And Bertin, with the way you are pushing this theory, it almost sounds as if you want him to be a Democrat. And to be honest, if he gets nominated as a democrat i will be disgusted with every Democrat in this state.

  14. Bertin Lefkovic

    I don’t want Christie to be a Democrat.  I want Barbara Buono or Dick Codey to be our next Governor.  However, I do not think that the party bosses are going to allow that to happen.  They would rather re-elect Christie.  I have already admitted on numerous occasions that my scenario is not a likely one, but simply that it is plausible.

    Republicans are not going to trot out the same clown car of candidates in 2016.  The Republican nominee is most likely going to be Marco Rubio (if he is willing to put his political career on the line – my guess is that he won’t) or Paul Ryan.  As far-right-wing as both are, neither are lightweights like the wingnuts that Romney was able to barely survive this time around.  If Christie runs for President as a Republican, he might also have to compete for moderate Republican votes with someone like Jeb Bush.  There is no way, shape, or form that Christie can win a Republican primary election against these kinds of opponents.

    Americans Elect failed in 2012, because there was a center-left Democratic President running for re-election against a center-right Republican opponent.  There was simply not enough room in the middle for a centrist independent alternative.  This may not necessarily be the case in 2016.

    If Hillary Clinton does not run for President and/or if progressives mobilize enough to nominate a liberal like Martin O’Malley (assuming for a moment that neither Howard Dean nor Russ Feingold run) and conservatives unite behind Rubio or Ryan, there could be enough room in the middle for a Christie and someone like Hagel, Hutchinson, or Lugar.  

    I believe that our country needs a centrist third party to attract moderate Republican and conservative Democrats so that the Democratic and Republican Parties can be the liberal and conservative parties that they should be.

    Of course, a 3-party system doesn’t work with the Electoral College, so for a centrist third party to have a chance, they would need to run congressional and senatorial candidates.  Imagine if this party could attract a critical mass of Democratic and Republican incumbents to run with it.  Assuming for a moment that it ran congressional candidates in all 435 districts, I think that a Christie-Hagel ticket could be competitive once no candidate reached 270 electoral college votes and the election was decided in the House.

    It is my opinion that if Christie ran for re-election as a Democrat and did a few things to moderate how people view him ideologically like sign the Obamacare health insurance exchange legislation into law, allow his marriage equality veto to be overriden, and allow a millionaire’s tax veto to be overridden, it would attract enough attention that, combined with Bloomberg’s money, Wall Street money, etc., a centrist third party could be competitive and viable from day one.

    That said, it is probably more likely that Christie runs for re-election as a Republican, runs for President as a Republican, loses the primary election to Rubio or Ryan, serves out the remainder of his term, and runs against Bob Menendez in 2018.

    Christie has to sign or veto the Obamacare legislation sometime between now and December 14.  I think that we will know at that time where his political career is headed.

  15. Bertin Lefkovic

    My belief that Christie could run for re-election as a Democrat is based on the existing center-right coalition government that he has established with his Christiecratic allies and the fact that he is finished in the Republican Party at the national level and that his best chance to be able to run for President in the general election is on a bipartisan Americans Elect ticket, but otherwise, it is figment of my imagination.  That doesn’t make the logic any less sound.

    I think that it is great that you are able to find work on political campaigns, but I seriously doubt that anything that you have experienced outside of New Jersey is applicable to the warped political dynamics in our state where the Democratic and Republican establishments are more inclined to work with each other than they are to cater to their base constituencies.

    The democratic process in the state is for all intents and purposes broken.  Because of how political machines and their bosses operate, there are very few, if any, seriously contested primary and general elections in our state anymore.

    In most states, gerrymandering occurs to benefit one party or another.  In our state, it is done primarily to create as many safe congressional and legislative seats as possible and the party line is used to prevent the rare primary election insurgent from having any chance in hell of beating the establishment candidate.

    So I wish you the best in your future professional political endeavors, but please don’t use them as a justification to lecture me or any progressive about electability or why we should tolerate the regressive behavior of the Democratic establishment.


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