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Chris Christie Begins Re-Election Bid With Sky High Approval Ratings

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie made his intentions official yesterday when he filed the paperwork necessary to begin his 2013 re-election campaign. While there has been some speculation over the past year or so that Christie made decline to run for re-election, this really isn’t a surprise. In his public speaking events, he has made clear that he thinks there’s still much to do in New Jersey and, with Hurricane Sandy’s impact on the state only now being fully realized, he seems dedicated to playing a role in rebuilding the devastated areas of the state. If nothing else, you’ve got to admit that he’s entering his re-election bid at the perfect time, as this new poll from Quinnipiac University demonstrates:

New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie did an “excellent” or “good” job responding to Hurricane Sandy, 95 percent of Garden State voters say, as they give the governor a 72 – 21 percent approval rating, the highest score Quinnipiac University ever measured for a New Jersey governor, according to a poll released today.

Today’s score tops Christie’s previous high 59 – 36 percent job approval in an April 11 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University.

Even Democrats approve of the Republican governor 52 – 39 percent.

Voters approve 84 – 12 percent, including 69 – 28 percent among Republicans, of Christie’s praise for President Barack Obama’s actions after Sandy.

“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.”

“‘Nonsense,’ say New Jerseyans, including two-thirds of Republicans, to the GOP fringe who object to Gov. Christie’s post-storm embrace of President Barack Obama,” Carroll added.

Despite the ravages of Sandy, a total of 65 percent of New Jersey voters are “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with life in the state, the highest satisfaction rate in 12 years.

By a 61 – 35 percent margin, voters are optimistic about the next four years with Barack Obama as president. Voters say 50 – 23 percent the economy will be better in four years.

A separate poll released today has Chris Christie leading all potential Democratic contenders, including the popular Mayor of Newark Cory Booker:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie would trounce Cory Booker and other potential Democratic challengers in the 2013 gubernatorial race, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

In a head-to-head contest with his possible toughest competitor, Booker, the mayor Newark, a Rutgers-Eagleton Institute of Politics poll finds the Republican governor wins handily, 53 percent to 34 percent. About 13 percent of respondents chose not to pick either candidate.

“With a long time until Election Day, Sandy will become somewhat less of a factor,” said David Redlawsk, a Rutgers University professor. “The realities of governing – including the budget and a host of other contentious issues – are likely to cool the governor’s red-hot numbers over time. But Christie’s leadership has given him a great deal of political capital to use over the next year.”

There’s no doubt that these numbers aren’t going to last for Christie, any more than the sky high numbers that both President Bush’s received during their Presidencies, or that President Obama received in the immediate aftermath of the death of Osama bin Laden, were permanent. At the same time, though, he is heading into re-election with about the best hand a Republican in Never Jersey could ask for. Sandy doesn’t guarantee that he’ll win, but his leadership in the aftermath of the storm is likely to be something that voters will remember, and be reminded of, as November 2013 comes around.

On the Democratic side, there’s no doubt that Booker is probably the strongest candidate they could forward if only because of his name recognition. However Mayor Booker has not yet announced his intentions regarding this race, and there is as much speculation that he could decide to run for Senate in 2014 as there is that he will run for Governor in 2013. If he decides not to run, then New Jersey Democrats may find themselves in a bind, because they really don’t have any other prominent statewide candidates. The closest thing they have is Senate President Richard Codey, who served as Acting Governor from 2004 to 2006 when Jim McGreevey was forced to resign in the wake of a sex scandal. There really wasn’t much of anything memorable about Codey’s time in office, and I’m not sure that New Jersey voters are going to be all that enthused by him.

Christie’s re-election isn’t guaranteed by any means. New Jersey is still a deeply blue state after all. However, he managed to win election three years ago by appealing to New Jersey voters as a fellow lifelong resident (the fact that Jon Corzine was immensely unpopular at the time helped of course), and the public’s opinion of his time in office so far is largely very positive. For the moment at least, he’s in a very good position.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. stonetools says:

    Over at Althouse, they’re condemning him as a RINO and saying that he should really run as a Democrat. Apparently, the scars from his embrace of Obama after Sandy are still raw.

    I expect that he will never successfully run for Presidency as a Republican either. The wingnuts will never forget .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  2. stonetools,

    I’m pretty sure that Governor Christie doesn’t give a crap what the comment threat on a blog run by some law professor in Wisconsin thinks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  3. stonetools says:

    Doug, there’s a lot of right wing criticism of Christie out there, including from these guys:

    Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who normally reserves his derision for Democrats, went so far as to say of Christie: “He’s fat and a fool. Don’t listen to Governor Christie. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” But Limbaugh clinched the quote with his reasoning for being so vicious: “He makes fun of me all the time.”

    A writer for the right-wing Daily Caller, Matt Lewis, hopped onto the anti-Christie bandwagon as well, in a post titled “What’s Chris Christie up to?” Lewis called Christie “a prop for Obama’s re-election” and speculated that there must be some kind of “Christie/Romney schism.”

    The right wing fodder site Drudge Report also attacked Christie,

    Christie can’t shrug off criticism from important right wing opinion makers like those.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  4. @stonetools:

    Well, Limbaugh doesn’t vote in New Jersey. And I know Matt Lewis, I’ve met him, he’s s decent guy. I don’t consider him part of the wingnut crowd.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  5. grumpy realist says:

    He’s also one of the few Republicans who have the guts to stand up for Americans who happen to practice Islam.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  6. michael reynolds says:

    What’s so dangerous for Republicans is that Christie has these high ratings because he made government work. Yes: government, the source of all evil.

    It turns out people like it when their government does things well. Like social security or medicare or SEAL Team 6 or FEMA.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 2

  7. Eric Florack says:

    Christie IS in fact a RINO. He’s another one dedicated to the mythical center, which in fact is the left… and is thereby one of the few Republicans the left can stand. Until election time.

    Look, gang… we tried this nonsense with McCain, with Bob Dole, with Bush, (either one was as much a centrist) and with Romney.

    At what point do you guys get the message?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 30

  8. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Sandy allowed New Jerseyites to see and hear Christie sans the filters of the partisan Democrat media, ergo it’s not at all surprising that currently he’s enjoying very high approval ratings.

    But a year is an eternity in politics and obviously Christie is not going to garner anything close to 72% of the vote. He’d be lucky to clear 55% and that assumes Cory Booker is not his opponent. Republican Derangement Syndrome runs deep in places like the Garden State and of course no matter Christie’s opponent the black demographic will vote in lock step against Christie, even if they thought the world of him.

    That all said, Christie is a trained criminal prosecutor, he’s done a great job beating the tar out of the public unions over there, he takes shit from nobody, and he’s done a great job pushing to rein in New Jersey’s oppressive property tax structure and other taxes. He’s a good governor and it goes without saying that he deserves a 2nd term. But he’s guilty of being a Republican and for large segments of the body politic, and particularly the media-academe-union cabal, that simply cannot be countenanced. So we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 11

  9. michael reynolds says:

    @Eric Florack:

    You are so right! If you’d nominated Rick Santorum he would have totally won. In a landslide!

    Please work extra hard to nominate him in 2016.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 2

  10. C. Clavin says:

    Christie is GOVERNING.
    Most Republicans are not interested, and are incapable, of GOVERNING.
    Christie reached across the aisle in order to GOVERN.
    Most Republicans are confused by this sort of cooperation. They think compromise means Democrats agreeing with everything they want.
    Until Republicans learn the lessons of Christie…they will continue to be losers.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 2

  11. @Eric Florack:

    As everyone I know back in my home state would say, Chris Christie his doing is job.

    The fact that people like you consider someone a RINO for doing their job says a lot about the state of contemporary conservatism.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 2

  12. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Truthfully, it makes more sense for Dems to let Christie run essentially unopposed in 2013. That gives them a considerable period of time in which the they can build opposition research on him for 2016. He’s riding a hurricane high at present, but 4 years is an awfully long time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  13. An Interested Party says:

    Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who normally reserves his derision for Democrats, went so far as to say of Christie: “He’s fat and a fool.

    Talk about projection…

    At what point do you guys get the message?

    If you really think that loons like Rick Santorum or Herman Cain could actually win the presidency…well, you’re more of a fool than anyone thought…

    Sandy allowed New Jerseyites to see and hear Christie sans the filters of the partisan Democrat media, ergo it’s not at all surprising that currently he’s enjoying very high approval ratings.

    Republican Derangement Syndrome runs deep in places like the Garden State and of course no matter Christie’s opponent the black demographic will vote in lock step against Christie, even if they thought the world of him.

    But he’s guilty of being a Republican and for large segments of the body politic, and particularly the media-academe-union cabal, that simply cannot be countenanced.

    Awwww, looks who’s whining yet again…I can’t believe this bozo is a real lawyer…I mean, what judge wouldn’t laugh this fool right out of the courtroom for all the times that he plays the victim…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  14. Moosebreath says:

    @bithead:

    This is New Jersey we are talking about. The only Republicans who can win statewide office there are folks like Chris Christie, Christine Whitman and Tom Kean. People who are to the left of Attila the Hun (which is your standard for what constitutes the center).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  15. grumpy realist says:

    @Eric Florack: If you try running any of your favored individuals in New Jersey they will only get votes up to the crazifaction level.

    But hey, if you want to keep running wackaloons like Santorum, go ahead.

    How many times do your Talibangelists have to get thrown out on their rear ends before you get the message: People. Do. Not. Like. Them.!!?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  16. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Eric Florack: Keep drinkin’ that Kool-ade!

    @Doug Mataconis: And yet you keep pulling for his side as often as not. Hmmm………..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  17. jukeboxgrad says:

    florack:

    At what point do you guys get the message?

    I think my favorite “message” from you is the one you delivered on 10/21/12:

    Obama has lost re-election. The only question remaining is how large a victory Romney is headed for.

    And you told us a couple of days before Obama was elected (the first time) that he would lose and there would be “rioting in Grant park.”

    I’m looking forward to your future predictions, so I’ll know that I should bet the other way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

  18. cd6 says:

    Does Rush Limbaugh really want to start advancing the suggestion that people ignore fat fools? Has he not thought this one out or what?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  19. Rob in CT says:

    The thing with Republican (at least “the base”) disillusionment with Christie is that it was bound to happen at some point. Conservatives basically liked him because he yelled at people they don’t like. Actual policies? Yeah, total “RINO.” He’s the governor of New Jersey for chrissakes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  20. beth says:

    Will there be a mini-boom in NJ due to Sandy related cleanup? I’ve spoken to relatives in the state who work at a car dealership (on track to have a great quarter replacing ruined cars) and as a carpenter (he’s got a few months of repair work lined up after being out of work for long stretches the last year) – they seem to be pretty positive these days. I guess every natural tragedy like this has some upside for someone. Does the local economy improve after disasters like this? Will Christie reap the benefits of it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. C. Clavin says:

    @ Beth…
    Even though I was on the outskirts of SuperStormSandy one of my vehicles was crushed by a falling tree. I replaced it a week later at a dealer here in CT near Bridgeport. They were doing a massive business selling cars to people from NY and NJ.
    Apparently there are studies that show disasters DO NOT styimulate the economies of damaged areas. The salesmen and saleswomen at that car dealership didn’t seem to care much about those studies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  22. C. Clavin says:

    It looks like the entire Republican Party has learned about as much as Florack from the election.
    Boehner has announced the 19 House Commitee Chairs…and they are all white men. I can only assume they consider themselves REAL AMERICANS.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I’m pretty sure that Governor Christie doesn’t give a crap what the comment threat on a blog run by some law professor in Wisconsin thinks.

    Agreed Doug. But then, Christie is not going to run for President anytime soon. (He was paying attention to what just happened to Romney) He might have his eyes on the Senate tho.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  24. Latino_in_Boston says:

    Eric’s response encapsulates perfectly where the GOP party is right now.

    On hearing that a potential GOP presidential candidate is the most popular governor in the country right now, and one that could even win New Jersey’s electoral votes (you know, the state the GOP hasn’t won since 1988), he responds: “He’s a RINO! RINO! They’re all going to laugh at you! RINO! They’re all going to laugh at you!”

    One wonders how many electoral losses it will take for the GOP to come around. Perhaps it will take Hillary (or someone else) in 2016 and 2020 to get out of their Fox News, Talk Radio induced coma.

    Best of luck with that, mate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  25. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Doug,

    Speaking about “doing his job” and the “state of conservatism”, did you get a chance to read this article?

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/revenge-of-the-reality-based-community/

    It’s great to hear of a conservative that is not afraid of talking about what has happened on the right: A massive schism between traditional conservative thought and what passes for conservative today.

    The crazies have been embraced all too well by the GOP

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  26. jukeboxgrad says:

    It’s great to hear of a conservative that is not afraid of talking about what has happened on the right

    Also good on that subject is Richard Posner (link).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  27. Geek, Esq. says:

    Christie is very likely to win re-election in NJ. Nationally, I don’t think the hurt fee-fees of the Romney campaign are going to be much of a drag in a Republican party that has two reasons to hate the Mittster now. And Christie’s play would be for New Hampshire anyways–where he’ll play a lot better than Rush Limbaugh does anyways.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. Geek, Esq. says:

    @stonetools:

    Just like they would never nominate the godfather of Obamacare, or a mavericky RINO amnesty fan.

    No one will have the cojones to get on a stage with Chris Christie and criticize his handling of Sandy. None. No interviewer on the right will have the stones to do it either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  29. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    Just a thought, but I suspect that in 4 years, Sandy won’t even be on the radar. These things have a short shelf life.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. Fausta says:

    @beth: Parable of the broken window, writ large.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0