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Although earlier data showed little impact on the New Jersey governor’s popularity, a new poll shows that Chris Christie may finally pay a political price for the closing of lanes to the George Washington Bridge.

NorthJersey.com via Political Wire:

Christie’s favorability rating is now at 46 percent, down 22 points from a survey taken just before his landslide re-election victory last year, a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released today found. Forty-three percent of those polled said they have an unfavorable view of the governor.

Republicans continue to stand by Christie, while Democrats have dropped their support by 26 percent.

“Other polls taken immediately after the bridge scandal broke showed relatively small effects,” said David Redlawsk, a political science professor and director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. “But with another week of revelations, damage appears to have been done. The good will the governor built up among Democrats with his handling of the Sandy aftermath is gone, at least for now.”

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Sure, Republicans are standing by the governor, but Christie’s appeal is built largely on the notion that he is a broadly popular politician who, perhaps like Ronald Reagan, can appeal to Democratic voters. Also, should he run for president, he will undoubtedly count on a win in his deep blue home state, something that will not be possible without crossover voters. Democrats have a 13 point advantage in New Jersey among registered voters. The state will have 14 electoral votes in the 2016 election based on the 2010 census. That’s not anything compared with California’s 55 (the most), but no Democrat will want to run on defense, having to contest or abandon altogether a state normally taken for granted.

This is all highly speculative at this stage, but if Christie cannot hold on to his home state, polls reflecting that fact will haunt his campaign, constantly challenging his brand as a moderate, likable guy. It seems like a minor point, one the governor has plenty of time to address, but his stock as a candidate should go way down if he cannot repair his image at home.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer


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