The 2016 Presidential election news cycle has been consumed this week by Democratic juggernaut Hillary Clinton’s official entry into the contest, as well as Republican junior Senator Marco Rubio’s Monday evening announcement. The narrative, such as Rubio would have it, pits tomorrow (himself) against yesterday (Clinton). Meanwhile the former Secretary of State cools her heels waiting to find out when and if any real competition is going to show up.
Whatever Rubio’s fitness level, or lack thereof, for becoming the next Leader of the Free World, it is doubtless that he can count on a goodly amount of support from his home state, should he survive the primaries. A recent report from The Hill puts Rubio’s approval rating at 40 percent in Florida, a figure that might be higher if the Senator had stuck to his immigration reform guns. The Sunshine State’s 24 percent Latino demographic would certainly have rewarded the lawmaker’s relative gumption.
But I digress. You know who from the potential Republican field can’t depend upon love from his home turf? That would be New Jersey Governor and Bridgegate star Chris Christie. According to an April 15 release from Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute of Politics:
“An increasing number of New Jersey registered voters think Christie would not make a good President, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. Just 24 percent think Christie would be a good President, while 69 percent say he would not, a 10-point increase in negativity since a February poll.”
The summation is damning enough, but a further drill down of the report gleaned from interviewing 860 registered adults puts the situation more starkly. David Redlawsk, Director of Public Interest Polling at the Eagleton Center observes:
“Voters who know Governor Christie best simply do not see him as President… New Jerseyans have watched him in good times and bad. While his strengths were on display after the Sandy disaster, he was seen as just another politician after the Bridgegate scandal and the investigations it spawned, and he has never recovered.”
What is an overbearing, bullying, misogynist State chief to do? Although Capitol Hill talking heads are prone to over speculation, it seems conventional wisdom may have gotten it right in early 2014 in declaring Christie’s White House run over before it started. Last month Washington Examiner reporter T. Becket Adams wrote that the Governor “has seen his Presidential ambitions shrink to little more than a pipe dream.” Ouch.
Chris Christie is learning a humble, overdue lesson: do not mess with the people, especially the rush hour commute to their livelihoods, over petty personal politics. That said, it seems New Jersey voters are accustomed to Christie’s unique variety of hubris and fully expect him to run away – tarnished brand and lack of local support notwithstanding. The Eagleton report notes:
“Despite declining job ratings at home and his apparent status as an also-ran in national Republican polls, a majority of respondents – 58 percent of Democrats, 55 percent of independents, and
63 percent of Republicans – still expect Christie to run for President.”
Sometimes a good case can be made for predictability. But when it comes to the 1-2 combo of Governor’s Christie’s abrasive corruption mixed with delusions of grandeur, New Jersey voters encourage the nation to look elsewhere for our next POTUS.