Chris Christie's win was a lot less impressive than you think

So what made for the big percentage difference? Barbara Buono only got 790,245 votes — almost 300,000 less than John Corzine. (To put Buono’s poor performance into perspective, no candidate for Governor in New Jersey got less than her total since 1985, when Peter Shapiro got 578,402 votes and was demolished by Tom Kean Sr.) As a matter of fact, if Christie would have gotten his vote total of 2013, and Buono would have matched Corzine’s performance, (and allowing Buono the 2/3 of Daggett’s voters who would’ve voted for Corzine) the Governor’s margin of victory would have been 51.4 -48.5 percent — a mere 1.2 point improvement over his 2009 victory Again, this assumes that absent Daggett the votes split 2:1 to the democrat candidate in each race. If we were to remove those numbers totally, and calculate the Christie win with Buono matching Corzine’s actual vote total, and allowing for a third party candidate matching Daggett’s totals from 2009, it isn’t that much more impressive. Christie’s win would be 50.4-43.8 percent — a mere three point gain over his 2009 performance…

Perhaps the most disturbing number about the Christie win is how voters self-identified politically 4 years after he had been their Governor. The model for a reelection win that was indicative of a candidate’s ability to transform the political landscape would be Ronald Reagan’s 1984 reelection. In 1980, the electorate identified as 17 percent liberal, 46 percent moderate and 28 percent conservative. In 1988, the electorate was 16 percent liberal (-1) 42 percent moderate (-4) and 33 percent conservative (+5). In Christie’s case, however, the electorate in 2009 was 25 percent liberal, 45 percent moderate and 30 percent conservative. In 2013 it was 25 percent liberal (-) 49 percent moderate (+4) and 26 percent conservative (-4).