Rudy and the Garden State - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Rudy and the Garden State

Over at TNR, Peter Keating (an ironic name to any Ayn Rand fans) has argued that Rudy Giuliani and Barack Obama have gotten their electoral strategies all wrong. Specifically regarding Rudy, he writes:

In the most recent polls conducted by Survey USA, Hillary Clinton is crushing Giuliani by 22 points in New York and 17 points in California. Even in New Jersey, there's really no hope for Rudy. Jersey Democrats have nominated a parade of dispiriting candidates for statewide office in recent years: the closeted Jim McGreevey; the corrupt Bob Torricelli, replaced by the 147-year-old Frank Lautenberg; the ruthless gazillionaire Jon Corzine; the machine hack Robert Menendez. They all won going away. New Jersey, like Illinois, just isn't competitive.

I agree that winning New York and California would be a longshot for Rudy just as it would for any Republican, but I find Keating's argument that "there's really no hope for Rudy" in New Jersey rather weak. First, while he cites the lopsided polling data to make his case against Rudy in New York and California, he ignores polling in his analysis of New Jersey in favor of anecdotal evidence of Democratic success in the state. However, a number of polls have Hillary and Rudy statistically tied there (Quinnipiac has Rudy slightly ahead, and a more recent Rutgers-Eagleton poll has him slightly behind).


Also, Keating misconstrues Giuliani's play for New Jersey as "staking a '9/11 changed everything' claim on voters who have either a geographic or cultural proximity to Ground Zero." However, Giuliani's appeal in the Garden State goes back much further than 9/11. The New Jersey suburbanites who commute into New York City for work or leisure are exactly the kind of people who appreciated Giuliani for cutting crime and cleaning up the city as mayor. Many pockets of northern NJ are demographically and culturally close to the outer borough voters that helped get Giulaini elected mayor twice. Furthermore, in percentage terms, NJ has the third highest Italian-American population in the country at 17.9 percent.


Giuliani's detractors may argue that NJ is ultimately too Democratic, that it's proved a tease before, that Italian Catholics won't vote for Rudy, and that ultimately he won't carry the state. But to say he has "no hope" is quite a stretch in the absence of empirical evidence to support such a claim, and the presence of empirical evidence disputing it.

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