Open thread: Christiepalooza; Update: Christie wins; Update: Exit polls added

posted at 7:21 pm on November 5, 2013 by Allahpundit

It hath been prophesied by lesser RINOs before him that there shall arise in the northeast a RINO messiah, who shall smite the true conservatives and lay waste the jerky progressives across the land. Tonight’s the night: No matter how big or small Christie’s victory is, this’ll be the springboard for centrists to argue that any guy who can turn an Obama landslide last year in a deeply Democratic state into a Republican landslide 12 months later is a guy worth rolling the dice on nationally. Just like in football, though, the only way to make a game interesting when the winner’s a foregone conclusion is to focus on the spread. What’s the difference between winning big, winning huge, and “let’s nominate the man already, dammit” victory?

RCP elections expert Sean Trende notes that only three Republicans in the last 60 years have outperformed Christie’s poll-average lead of 26 points in New Jersey, and none of those three were elected within the past 25 years. Jersey is more Democratic today, Republicans are less popular in Democratic enclaves than they used to be, and Christie is more conservative than any of his three predecessors were — and yet he’s still looking at a margin so huge, he might actually get to 60 percent of the vote. (As Christie himself is quick to note, not since 1988 has a Republican running in a statewide election cracked 50 percent.) That’s the magic number tonight for true Christie-fan triumphalism, I think. Any landslide will be touted as proof that he’s the One True RINO sent to deliver mankind from evil, but north of 60 percent will have the commentariat breathing into paper bags.

The big subplot: How well will he do with minorities? He’s winning more than 30 percent of black voters in some polls, thanks in part to his passionate support for school choice, and more than 40 percent of Latinos. This is his big selling point with the party nationally, which is why he spent so much effort over the past few months wooing minority constituents. It’s not just winning a landslide in a blue state that supposedly makes him electable in 2016, it’s winning significant segments of core Democratic groups in the process. A fun anecdote from BuzzFeed’s piece about that today:

Standing toward the back of the rally in Union City, a thin, bespectacled man wearing a tan-colored fedora and a brown overcoat tapped his cain on the ground to the rhythm of the music. He introduced himself as Señor Abreu, a 91-year-old Dominican immigrant who had been living in the U.S. for 31 years and long ago became a citizen. He said he had only ever voted for Democrats, but described Christie as a “a good man who works hard for his people… I hope he wins.”

Asked how he felt about casting his first vote for a Republican, Abreu looked confused at first, and then shook his head insistently. “No es Republicano. Es Democrata.”

Lots of tea partiers are reading that right now, thinking “Sí.” Christie’s eager to rebut the charge, telling Jake Tapper today (watch below) that he’s a conservative and, unlike unnamed others, hasn’t sought to hide it. Is that right? Read this incomplete but useful checklist of issues on which he’s tiptoed away from conservative orthodoxy. Now that he’s safely reelected, he needs to decide whether to try to rebuild some credibility on the right or, in the name of winning centrists in the general election, go full RINO for the next two years and hope that Republicans are hungry enough to win that they’ll forgive him everything and nominate him anyway. I think he’s gone too far already on gun control to backtrack on that and he’s not going to change course on immigration for fear of alienating Latinos, but maybe there’s still some pandering to the right to be had on social issues. Christie remains pro-life and opposed to gay marriage, but signing a bill that banned “conversion therapy” for gay kids and dropping an appeal of the state supreme court’s gay-marriage ruling that he was going to lose anyway mean he’s in danger of failing a social-con litmus test. Too bad, says Ramesh Ponnuru:

Cuccinelli may have hesitated because polls have shown him losing a significant number of votes to a third-party candidate running as a pro-choice libertarian. But even a lot of libertarian-leaning Republicans are willing to vote for pro-life candidates, as McDonnell’s landslide proved.

Socially conservative positions on hot-button issues don’t seem to be a deal-breaker even for the much more liberal voters of New Jersey. Christie has vetoed legislation to grant state recognition to same-sex marriage — a judge later ordered it, though Christie briefly appealed — and vetoed bills to fund Planned Parenthood five times.

He does not, however, seem obsessed by social issues: Democrats haven’t gotten much mileage out of ads saying that his priorities are different from those of voters, as they have against Cuccinelli. Christie has also avoided taking unpopular socially conservative stands on issues that aren’t live debates, and taken the occasional opportunity to soften his profile.

The contrast with Cuccinelli’s results tonight is the other talking point waiting to happen tomorrow, needless to say. I’ve heard some grassroots righties accuse establishment Republicans of outright rooting for Terry McAuliffe to win so that they can draw a contrast between Christie’s centrist landslide in Jersey with Cooch’s tea-party flameout in a much more purple state. I don’t think they’re rooting for victory — it’s always better to hold power in a state than not — but they’ll take a tea-party fizzle in Virginia as a consolation prize because it helps them make the case for 2016 that centrism, yet again, is the only way to go. Cuccinelli’s the first true-con smited in the Christie “RINO messiah” narrative.

The polls close at 8 p.m. ET. The race will be called quickly, needless to say, so all the suspense is in the final margin and the demographic breakdown in the exit polls. You can follow county-by-county results on the NYT’s elections page. Stand by for updates below. Exit question: Christie/Martinez 2016?

Update: First exit poll results are coming in at 5:30 ET. New Jersey’s blue enough that Obama’s still above water there — barely.

Update: Emphasis on “in New Jersey,” no doubt:

Update: A succinct summation from John Dickerson of why conservatives find Christie suspicious. It’s not just his heresies on various issues, it’s that he has the “wrong friends” in the donor class and the media. And this: “The overarching worry among conservatives will be that no matter what the issue, a man who makes such a fetish of his ability to work with Democrats is going to sell out conservatives in the end.”

Update: As expected, the networks call it for Christie promptly at 8 p.m. Now we wait for the margin and the exit polls.

Update: Both the NYT and CNN have exit poll data from New Jersey. You’ll notice their numbers don’t match: CNN has Christie winning 45 percent of Latinos, which is in line with his polling, while the Times has him winning just 31 percent. The reason for the discrepancy is that exits get adjusted over the course of election night as new data comes in. One of them has outdated numbers although it’s not clear which. It’ll be a few hours before we have more solid information. The NYT data does, however, have him in the ballpark of the magic 60 percent mark overall. And CNN has him winning 56 percent of women and more than 20 percent of black voters. Impressive if that’s what the final data looks like.

Update: A pithy counterargument:

Update: And a counter to the counter:

Update: How many points was Christie’s handling of the Sandy aftermath worth to him? Eight? Ten? Not only did it build support for him locally but, as Noah Glyn says, it probably discouraged more formidable Democrats from challenging him. This is the easiest (and soundest) way to discredit tonight’s victory if you’re a Christie-hater, I think: It’s impressive, but it’s based on a fluke. Everyone loved Giuliani after 9/11 too, and then he tried to parlay it into a national candidacy and it went nowhere. Christie will do better than Rudy for various reasons but he risks running into the same problem of mistaking goodwill derived from solid crisis management for broad-based national support.

Update: The NYT’s exit poll data has now been updated and it’s much more in line with CNN’s numbers. Christie’s winning 48 percent of Latinos and 20 percent of blacks now, both double-digit increases from how he did in 2009. He’s also winning … 31 percent of Democrats. If the Times’s numbers hold, he should fall just shy of 60 percent.

Update: Given how many HA readers dislike him, I don’t know whether to post the Humpbot video or the melting bunny. Maybe this one as a compromise?

Update: Good catch, and support for Ponnuru’s thesis up top:

It’s been 45 minutes since the exit polls updated but I doubt we’ll see any dramatic changes at this point. Christie will have the margins he wanted among minorities. The 2016 campaign begins tomorrow.


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If the climate change pushing Obama hugging oaf Christie were somehow to be the R nominee there would be maybe 15% of Repubs that would go third party or even vote Hillary. Christie is despised that much. The NJ moderate is a non-starter.

And the Cuccinneli defeat, despite having a heavy anti-Obamacare headwind in his favor, points to another danger for Republicans. It was women that delivered the blow to Cuccinneli. I’m all for our candidates being pro-life, but taking the “no exception for rape” position is going to mean sacrificing the women’s vote. If you think that our candidates could win without that, we’d have to repeal the 19th amendment first. I’m not sure why it’s too much to ask of our candidates to make that critical exception for rape.

anotherJoe on November 5, 2013 at 10:43 PM

Todd Starnes of FOX:

NBC reports that Christie REFUSED to campaign for Cucinelli in Virginia.

In case you haven’t figured it out — it’s Republicans & Democrats versus the Tea Party.

(Repeated because it hit the bottom of page 2).

INC on November 5, 2013 at 10:44 PM

Christie is a smart man. He knows that he will have to run as a conservative to beat Hillary and govern as a conservative to win re-election.

kcewa on November 5, 2013 at 10:47 PM

Todd Starnes of FOX:

NBC reports that Christie REFUSED to campaign for Cucinelli in Virginia.

In case you haven’t figured it out — it’s Republicans & Democrats versus the Tea Party.

INC on November 5, 2013 at 10:43 PM

So conservatives, including the lion’s share of Cuccinelli supporters – call Christie a RINO and a traitor for a year, and he refuses to risk his political capital for them. Whodathunk it?

Oh, and by the way, “Republicans & Democrats versus the Tea Party”? The self-proclaimed leaders of the Tea Party seem pretty damn pleased with that state of affairs, in my observation.

KingGold on November 5, 2013 at 10:49 PM

I’m not sure why it’s too much to ask of our candidates to make that critical exception for rape.

anotherJoe on November 5, 2013 at 10:43 PM

It means killing innocent people.

kcewa on November 5, 2013 at 10:49 PM

Christies bear hug of Obama on election eve 2012 and now his refusal to campaign for a real conservative in Virginia is proof positive that it is no longer democrats versus republicans but the progressive establishment versus conservatives. Time to choose a side people. I choose the wacko bird party of Palin, Cruz, Lee, Paul, Gowdy and Carson. With whom do you stand?

fight like a girl on November 5, 2013 at 10:53 PM

Christie is a smart man. He knows that he will have to run as a conservative to beat Hillary and govern as a conservative to win re-election.

kcewa on November 5, 2013 at 10:47 PM

Me living in the State I didn’t even go vote, he’s not smart, he is a fat blowhard ass, who hates people like me because I’m a conservative. You want him to prez, be ready for a Muslim who supports sharia law to be appointed to the Supreme Court

that’s how conservative he is ass

Conservative4ev on November 5, 2013 at 10:54 PM

Christie could not be seen campaigning for a real conservative.

fight like a girl on November 5, 2013 at 11:01 PM

NBC reports that Christie REFUSED to campaign for Cucinelli in Virginia.

In case you haven’t figured it out — it’s Republicans & Democrats versus the Tea Party.

(Repeated because it hit the bottom of page 2).

INC on November 5, 2013 at 10:44 PM

2014 will be epic.

Schadenfreude on November 5, 2013 at 11:02 PM

Not voting for Christie.

I know HA will be flogging long and hard from him daily from here forward, but if you think he’s going to carry this kind of cache into 2016, well…

He ran against… who? Hillary will be a different equation altogether.

Christie won’t get the national woman and minority vote he got in NJ – they will reliably to go Hillary.

Christie won’t get the favorable media he got in NJ – once he’s ‘the nominee’, the media will be in full-on pro-Hillary mode.

Christie won’t have the ‘opportunity to make another historic choice’ nonsense on his side – Hillary will (see again: Christie will get destroyed in the woman demographic).

Once the media gets done with the usual “he’s a racist, homophobic, woman-hating, granny-starving, ‘comin-to-take-your-EBT-cards!’, but Hillary’s going to make those rich folks pay more so you can have more free shit” tar-and-feather routine, Christie won’t know what hit him.

That, and when the 30-ish percent of the GOP base that suddenly disappears and fails to show up at the ballot box because the GOP’s been at war with them, well…

Yeah, I can see how everyone would be excited for CC’s prospects in 2016. /

Midas on November 5, 2013 at 11:02 PM

It [an exception for rape for abortion] means killing innocent people.

kcewa on November 5, 2013 at 10:49 PM

One could argue the opposite. Rape cases makes up a miniscule amount of actual abortions. Yet a candidate that takes the no rape exceptions policy is likely to lose, and so a strongly pro-abortion candidate would likely be the election result. VA now is the shining example of that. In VA we have a winner that said he would fight any restrictions on abortion, and so more abortions are likely to occur. Cuccinneli wouldn’t even allow an exception for rape, for incest, or the health of the mother (yes, for the life of the mother only). No wonder women didn’t go for that.

anotherJoe on November 5, 2013 at 11:03 PM

I’m not sure why it’s too much to ask of our candidates to make that critical exception for rape.

anotherJoe on November 5, 2013 at 10:43 PM

Sanctity of life, value of the individual.

Got it – any other principles you think conservatives should abandon? Anything else they should do to better resemble liberals?

Midas on November 5, 2013 at 11:07 PM

anotherJoe on November 5, 2013 at 11:03 PM

I agree with your argument as far as politics. I was just explaining why people don’t agree with it on moral grounds.

kcewa on November 5, 2013 at 11:07 PM

Me living in the State I didn’t even go vote, he’s not smart, he is a fat blowhard ass, who hates people like me because I’m a conservative. You want him to prez, be ready for a Muslim who supports sharia law to be appointed to the Supreme Court
that’s how conservative he is ass
Conservative4ev on November 5, 2013 at 10:54 PM

I don’ t live in NJ but I have never liked the “fat blowhard” whose only claim to fame is his scripted YouTube take down of the teacher’s unions. I can’t find one of his devotees to give me one example of anything he has done that is conservative. Anyone?

fight like a girl on November 5, 2013 at 11:08 PM

I don’ t live in NJ but I have never liked the “fat blowhard” whose only claim to fame is his scripted YouTube take down of the teacher’s unions. I can’t find one of his devotees to give me one example of anything he has done that is conservative. Anyone?

fight like a girl on November 5, 2013 at 11:08 PM

Well, there’s… um… well, he loves him some Obamacare, refusing to join other governor’s in fighting it, and being one of the first to get it implemented as best I can recall. Wait, he believes in global warming fake science! And amnesty! Oh, wait – those aren’t conservative positions at all. Hmm.

Midas on November 5, 2013 at 11:11 PM

For NJ Gov. KristieKreme, on behalf of bluegill:

The Dictators – “Two Tub Man”

I’m just a clown walking down the street

I can go anywhere
People look and people stare
They all know that I’m the one, not to let your son become

I drink Coca-Cola for breakfast

Guess I’m just a Two Tub Man

Anti-Control on November 5, 2013 at 11:13 PM

Christie is a smart man. He knows that he will have to run as a conservative to beat Hillary and govern as a conservative to win re-election.

kcewa on November 5, 2013 at 10:47 PM

Me living in the State I didn’t even go vote, he’s not smart, he is a fat blowhard ass, who hates people like me because I’m a conservative. You want him to prez, be ready for a Muslim who supports sharia law to be appointed to the Supreme Court

that’s how conservative he is ass

Conservative4ev on November 5, 2013 at 10:54 PM

I don’t want him to be President. He’s way down my personal list; Ted Cruz is on the top. I’ve already sent money to Cruz’s PAC. You should have voted – there must have been some measure or something on the ballot to vote for or against?

kcewa on November 5, 2013 at 11:14 PM

I don’ t live in NJ but I have never liked the “fat blowhard” whose only claim to fame is his scripted YouTube take down of the teacher’s unions. I can’t find one of his devotees to give me one example of anything he has done that is conservative. Anyone?

fight like a girl on November 5, 2013 at 11:08 PM

1. signed legislation that increases pension and health contributions paid by a half-million teachers, police and other public workers and removes the issue from collective bargaining for four years.

2. vetoed $7.4m in women’s health funding because it would have benefited New Jersey Planned Parenthood clinics.

3. refused to participate in the insurance exchanges mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

4. he has balanced four budgets without increasing taxes. During a recession.

kcewa on November 5, 2013 at 11:29 PM

kcewa on November 5, 2013 at 11:29 PM

Thank you for bringing some sanity to this discussion. I don’t have a candidate yet, and I still have bitter feelings towards Christie for his screwjob of Romney, but to say something ridiculous like he hasn’t done anything conservative at all is just silly. I understand if he isn’t one of your favorites, and Lord knows that man has plenty of flaws, but don’t let your dislike/hatred of the man cloud your thinking.

GOPRanknFile on November 6, 2013 at 12:10 AM

Fascinating that pro-life Christie won women by 12 pts, while pro-life Cuccinelli lost by 8pts to McAuliffe among women.

Leading those who are not RINO dupes to laugh and ask — what on earth makes you think Fat Boy is pro-life?

Jaibones on November 6, 2013 at 6:45 AM

Midas on November 5, 2013 at 11:02 PM

And then the SoCons will get blamed for his loss.

Cleombrotus on November 6, 2013 at 7:15 AM

Christie had a cake walk. Obama and the Dems didn’t support the unknown he was running against and we’re supposed to be impressed. Also Christie as a social conservative? Isn’t that a wee bit dishonest? He is not known for social issues at all. He may support things privately (and I’m not even sure about that) but he won’t fight for them or stand up for them if it doesn’t help him politically. So he just isn’t a social conservative in my book.

What Christie didn’t face was a real foe with DNC and Dems behind her. He didn’t have a fake candidate splitting the R votes either as Cooch did in VA. Christie sold his soul in 2012 and I’m pretty sure Obama backed off in NJ because he owed Christie one. Again, not impressed. This blog and pretty much all the beltway talking heads have been pushing Chris Krispy including the libbies on MSNBC. I guess your all establishment now, which is fine, but it just seems a little organized, doesn’t it? Reminds me of the journolisters.

magicbeans on November 6, 2013 at 8:02 AM

Fascinating that pro-life Christie won women by 12 pts, while pro-life Cuccinelli lost by 8pts to McAuliffe among women.

I’m betting Chris Krispy didn’t advertise the fact that he was pro life. But correct me if I’m wrong. What social issues did Krispy run on?

magicbeans on November 6, 2013 at 8:08 AM

Romney still claims he is a conservative. RINOs want the issue to run on and do nothing. Christie already said he “knows how to get along with Democrats”. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi will eat him up and spit him out. He will get along well with Boehner and O’Connell though. If he runs and gets elected, I can’t wait for him to tell the Democrats in Congress that he going to show them “how it’s done”. LOL

lea on November 6, 2013 at 9:08 AM

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