Christie Rides Approval High In Re-Election Bid
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is riding unprecedented approval ratings for a Republican in the Garden State as he files for re-election this week.
Governor Christie, who filed papers for re-election on Monday, is now considered to be the most popular Republican in America, according to the Washington Post. The governor’s popularity stems mainly on his handling of the Hurricane Sandy crisis, which decimated the state.
A new poll released Wednesday from Farleigh Dickerson University shows Governor Christie’s job approval rating jump from 56-percent before Hurricane Sandy, to 77-percent after the storm. Even 67-percent of Democrats approve of him, in what may be a first in dyed-blue state. Only 17-percent do not approve of Chris Christie.
Two other polls also released Wednesday have similar findings. A Rutgers-Eagleton poll shows his favorable rating at shooting up from 48-percent pre-Sandy to 67-percent post-Sandy, and a Quinnipiac poll found their highest score ever for a Republican governor, with Governor Christie at 72-percent.
Governor Christie, who was touted as a possible presidential candidate and then running mate for Mitt Romney during the 2012 U.S. presidential election, took a lot of heat from fellow Republicans after he openly praised President Barack Obama for his help during the Hurricane Sandy crisis, which happened days before the election.
The governor was also criticized by New Jersey Republicans before that incident, most notably for his appointing a Muslim activist lawyer to the state Supreme Court and suspicions he conspired with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to raise Port Authority tolls between the two states.
While Governor Christie may hold a rock-star-like status right now, Bloomberg News cautions that enthusiasm may fizzle in the months of campaigning leading up to election day. High unemployment and budget woes will play a factor in a state where Democrats still hold a 3-2 edge over Republicans.
Brigid Harrison, who teaches law and government at Montclair State University, calls Governor Christie’s high ratings a “rally-around-the-flag syndrome” that will likely fall once a Democrat challenger is set and begins campaigning in earnest.
Governor Christie took a pragmatic turn about his large approval ratings on Wednesday.
“That will come back down to earth,” he said. “I enjoy that as much as the next guy, but I’ve seen this movie before and that will come back down.”
The odds-on favorite Democrat to challenge Governor Christie is Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Another potential gubernatorial candidate is state Senator Richard Codey, who served as governor for 14 months after James McGreevey resigned in 2004.