Could Christie’s high approval rating put New Jersey in play for Romney?

posted at 10:26 am on April 11, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

If so, it would be quite a coup for Chris Christie, the famously combative chief executive in the Garden State.  New Jersey hasn’t gone Republican in a presidential election since 1988, when George H. W. Bush won his only term in the White House.  Then again, the state hasn’t had a Republican governor with this kind of popularity in a very long time, either:

New Jersey voters still approve 59 – 36 percent of the job Christie is doing, his best score ever. Approval is 92 – 6 percent among Republicans and 64 – 32 percent among independent voters. Democrats disapprove 64 – 30 percent.

Christie is more of a leader, 54 percent of voters say, while 39 percent say he is more of a bully. …

New Jersey voters approve 58 – 35 percent of the way Christie is handling the state budget and support his proposed 10 percent across-the-board state income tax cut 54 – 32 percent.

This is even more impressive when one considers the advantages Democrats have in the state.  They control both chambers of the legislature by 3:2 ratios.  In the 2009 election that put Christie into office, Democrats had a ten-point advantage in the exit polling, 41/31/28, and Christie only won 8% of the Democratic vote.  His disapproval number is now lower than the Democratic turnout in that election, at 39%, although it’s within the margin of error in the survey.

Jammie Wearing Fool thinks this could put New Jersey in play for Republicans in the fall — and might convince Romney to pick him as a running mate:

There isn’t a Democrat in the state who could beat him in 2013 if he remains above 50%.  At the same time, such popularity in what’s normally a solid blue state for Democrats could encourage Romney to go with him as VP.

I’m skeptical about the running-mate idea, but it’s certainly possible.  Christie is more personally popular with conservatives in the GOP than Romney is, but his positions may not be once they get a thorough airing.  Also, while Christie’s combative style works well in New Jersey, it may not sell as well outside of the Garden State, and it might have the unintended effect of overshadowing the man at the top of the ticket.  Finally, putting another Northeastern moderate on the ticket doesn’t make for good regional politics, although it’s been argued that the need to consider geography in running-mate choices has declined in recent decades.  Bill Clinton and Al Gore were both Southerners, and they won two terms in office, as one example.

Whether this puts New Jersey in play is even murkier, but that might not be the point anyway.  Democrats probably wouldn’t spend money in the state under normal circumstances; thanks to the registration advantages they have, it should be a solidly blue state in national elections.  Christie’s popularity will force them to divert resources to protect the 14 electoral votes at risk, which gives them fewer options for other swing states.  And if New Jersey really is in play in 2012, that means that Barack Obama will be in serious trouble across a wide range of swing states.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

I expect to see a lot of Gov. Christie during the campaign…but I don’t think he’ll be the VP candidate.

krome on April 11, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Why is this a surprise? Christie’s whole approach in NJ was patterned after Giuliani’s. It should be hitting home to anysbody with half a brain that NE politicians like Rudy and Christie have something to offer that the Huckabees and Santorums don’t. It was no accident Rudy was the only GOP leader asked to campaign for Brown in MA and Rubio in FL and Christie in NJ–winners all. Despite this track record, the GOP routinely ignores Reagan Democrats–without which none of those victories would have been possible.

writeblock on April 11, 2012 at 2:37 PM

As a native NJ resident, I concur with my fellow NJ hot air posters that Romney has no shot in winning NJ.

Even if Romney picked Christie as his VP, NJ would still go to Obama. Christie is good for NJ but his style would turn off the rest of the country. (Sorry Ann Coulter.)

RedRobin145 on April 11, 2012 at 1:04 PM

As a non-native New Jersey resident, I have a significant expectation of the state being moderately competitive in 2012. We are not as blue as we may seem; in fact, outside of the major black holes (pun fully intended) with rampant voting fraud, we’re purplish with a distinctive red hue. The only reason our legislature is so blue is that New Jersey Democrats have elevated gerrymandering into the finest art form.

That said, Christie’s popularity might not be sufficient to reliably turn the state around, and the cost of having two Nor’easterner RINOs on the same ticket will be tremendous in other regions. I would also like to point out a much better way to paint the state red, which is to pick Bobby Jindal for VP. Our Indian community is huge and largely apolitical, but they will crawl through fire and broken glass to elect one of their own.

Romney / Jindal 2012-2020
Jindal / Walker 2020-2028
Walker / Ryan 2028-2036

Archivarix on April 11, 2012 at 3:31 PM

I would also like to point out a much better way to paint the state red, which is to pick Bobby Jindal for VP. Our Indian community is huge and largely apolitical, but they will crawl through fire and broken glass to elect one of their own.

Archivarix on April 11, 2012 at 3:31 PM

As much as I hate to subscribe to identity politics, this is likely true. Besides that, those of us in tomato country out west could also get excited about a ticket that included Jindal.

Lost in Jersey on April 11, 2012 at 3:35 PM

I predict that Romney will win the state in 2012. It will be close but he will do it by about 2-3%. Remember in 2004 Bush only lost NJ to Kerry by about 6% and campaigned here only once and spent almost no money on advertising.

Natebo on April 11, 2012 at 4:08 PM

If Chris Christie is Romney’s VP, i may not vote…what a Rino Ticket that would be….Christie’s parents also were lazy when they named him

sadsushi on April 11, 2012 at 8:35 PM

If Chris Christie is Romney’s VP, i may not vote…what a Rino Ticket that would be….Christie’s parents also were lazy when they named him

sadsushi on April 11, 2012 at 8:35 PM

The real rinos are candidates like Santorum and Huckabee and McCain and Dole and both Bushes–all big government fiscal moderates. Give me Rudy and Christie and Romney any day over those Democrats lite.

writeblock on April 11, 2012 at 9:19 PM

Comment pages: 1 2