As a Politico piece aptly stated, “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s romp to reelection began with a storm.” Now it’s Election Day in New Jersey and, it’s true, the question that is being posed is not whether Christie will be reelected as governor but by how much.
Who is Barbara Buono? Well, that seems to be the key problem for her campaign.
Chris Christie has a persona—a Jersey charm, if there ever was one—that has made him a household name to even the most casual observer of politics, and particularly since Hurricane Sandy. Given the 85 percent approval rating of his post-disaster work, we may presume that his positive numbers to this day are due in part to his proactive response during that time of crisis.
Say what you will about the “Stronger than the storm” jingle-slogan, which is essentially Christie’s calling card. It’s cheesy, but effective; it’s gained him notoriety and a windfall of public credit that Barbara Buono, “a Democratic state senator who was able to run just two ads against Christie’s 16 spots,” clearly lacks.
As recently as two weeks ago, according to PolitickerNJ, Christie’s statewide approval rating registered at 61 percent, while only 28 percent viewed him unfavorably—despite disapproval of Christie on specific issues, such as his handling of the economy, jobs, and taxes. This further illustrates the importance of Sandy in the equation.
But compare those numbers to Barbara Buono’s: “43 percent of respondents have no real impression of her,” and among those who actually have an opinion, she has a 29-28 percent approval-disapproval rating.
Two days ago, Jennifer Rubin wrote a piece for the Washington Post that she titled, “What the GOP Can Learn from Chris Christie.” In it, she listed the criteria for a more complete Republican politician, which she argued Christie meets regularly. Among these are: Make the emotional connection with voters, don’t be a phony, be humorous, be an optimist, and do something. It’s hard to argue against Christie’s résumé in these categories. Hence, the election tonight should be a rout.
But the inevitable outcome aside, perhaps the Republicans will adopt a rallying cry in 2016 that can overshadow the “Yes We Can” mantra once and for all: “The Sandy Man Can.” Of course, to seal the deal, it shall come complete with a Wonka-like jingle in the hopes of making wonks everywhere tingle.