Monday, February 16, 2015

Is It Too Early To Call The Sounds Coming From The Chris Christie Campaign A Death Rattle?


Iowa Republicans turned up at recent Chris Christie appearances in the hope of seeing him scream at someone, preferably an elderly woman or a teacher. They've been disappointed and he's getting a poor word-of-mouth about the hardcore GOP base. Using the same operatives who persuaded Rudy Giuliani to behave like an adult-- losing him the Fox and Hate Talk Radio vote-- Christie has been on best behavior, trying to act like a respectable governor instead of the boorish lout and thug everyone has seen for 5 years on YouTube. If Christie won't give the Iowa base the lout, thug and bully they're looking for, they can ignore him and find all the traits they admire in pandering bigots like Ted Cruz, Huckabee, Scott Walker, Rick Perry... in desperation even Rick Santorum.

In Fox's most recent poll of GOP voters nationwide-- January 15-- Christie ranks 8th, tied with Cruz and Perry at just 4%. When Romney was not included, Christie's share went up to 6%, giving him the #6 slot, not as good as Scott Walker, but slightly better than Marco Rubio. Fox also shows Hillary Clinton beating Christie in the 2016 general 48-42%. The most recent poll of just Iowa Republicans-- by Loras College and also from the last week in January-- (and without Romney as a factor) shows Christie tied with Ted Cruz at 5.4% in 6th place. Huckabee is #1 with 14.4%, followed by eJeb (13.1%) and a Fox News guy named Ben Carson (12.8%).

Friday, NBC News reported that many influential leaders within the GOP have lost faith in Christie's ability to inspire voters. There is growing skepticism he can win the primary and he's certainly being shut out of the big money hunt. The recent series of exposures involving his career-long corruption have rattled some Republicans about his ability to reach non-Fox News voters.
The signs of Christie's decline are subtle but telling as Republican strategists, operatives and donors are trying to determine which candidates to back early in the 2016 process. New Jersey State Sen. Joe Kyrillos, who chaired Christie's 2009 gubernatorial campaign, attended a small dinner with Jeb Bush and some of Bush's supporters last month and refused to commit to Christie in an interview with the Newark Star-Ledger after the dinner.

Appearing on Fox News, influential conservative columnist Charles Krauthhammer recently predicted Bush, Walker or Florida Sen. Marco Rubio would win the nomination, leaving out Christie, who is courting many of the same moderate Republicans as those three.

Gary Kirke, who was part of a group of Iowa Republicans unsatisfied with Mitt Romney and who flew from the state to Trenton to implore Christie to run four years ago, says he is now open to supporting other candidates. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who had also unsuccessfully pushed Christie to run in 2012, attended a luncheon in support of Bush this week, according to the New York Observer.

...Andrew Ferguson of the influential conservative magazine the Weekly Standard wrote in a piece published this week that Christie, as well as Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, were already struggling so badly in the 2016 race that they should "pack it in right now and save months of time and tons of money."

"A thin skin has been a feature of Chris Christie's public life as well and over the last several weeks it has been much in evidence," wrote Ferguson. He added, "In London he didn't appear a hardworking public servant losing patience with bleating reporters, he had the air of a plutocrat irked that the little people weren't doing what they were told."

All three of those candidates are likely to stay in the race. But while Huckabee has a base of support among evangelicals and Paul among his father's former supporters and more libertarian Republicans, Christie increasingly looks like a man without a party.

Wall Street and blue-state donors, even in nearby Connecticut and New York, have lined up to back Bush, the party's policy wonks are more excited about Rubio and party donors who don't want a third Bush presidency are looking closely at Walker.

"A lot of these guys that begged him [Christie] to run in that race in '12, they are not necessarily with him," said Craig Robinson, the former political director of the Iowa Republican Party. "This is a hard lesson that every cycle is different. There were a lot of people saying 'you need to do this' four years ago. Now there are a lot of different faces on the scene and maybe they won't feel so compelled to get you in this race."
Meanwhile, by pandering to right-wing national GOP voters and ignoring New Jersey, Christie finds himself with his lowest approval ratings in his home state since he was first elected governor. Only 37% of New Jersey voters view him favorably. A majority say he isn't doing a good job as governor. When respondents were asked why Christie's polling numbers have been sinking so precipitously, the words that came up most frequently were "arrogance," "rudeness," and "abrasive," just what the Iowa Republican base was hoping to see on display last week.

UPDATE: Not Impressed In South Carolina Either

PPP is reporting this morning that new polling of South Carolina Republicans shows Christie's favorability ratings in a ditch. Only 28% of likely GOP voters have a good impression of him. 46% have a bad impression. With BRAVO about to premiere season 2 of Southern Charm (March 16), maybe Christie should hire Tom Ravenel as an advisor. And I'm sure he'll find someone to advise him in New Jersey too, where a poll released today shows Hillary trouncing him by 23 points.

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At 6:20 PM, Blogger ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Poor whale. Steenking on the beach.


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