Analysis: Can Christie Win?

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vaadvotinglakewood1With public affairs in such sorry shape, the Garden State grows some nasty tasting political campaigns. Jersey’s gutter politics used to be defined by Republican Pete Dawkins calling Senator Frank Lautenberg a “swamp dog” back in 1988. This year Democrat Governor Jon Corzine broke open the sewer pipes of political advertising, actually making juvenile “fat jokes” about his Republican opponent, who struggles with obesity.Let’s recap how the Tea Party movement coupled with the anti-incumbent movement in America may backfire and give the Jersey Democrat his second term.

Governor Jon Corzine and Republican challenger Chris Christie are in a race that’s simply too close to call. The Real Clear Politics average of several respected polls gives Christie a statistically insignificant 1% edge. The fly in Christie’s campaign victory ointment is that independent Chris Daggett is polling over 11 percent.

The only conclusion the polls give is that most New Jersey voters want a new governor. But even though Corzine’s approval ratings have been stuck in the high thirties for most of the year — thanks to his $30 million personal bankroll coupled with the surprisingly strong showing by Daggett — Corzine could still win.

Christie was leading this race by as much as 14% over the summer. His campaign mantra was you’ve been living through bad times under Corzine. And he pointed to the highest taxes in the country, the highest unemployment in the region and even 450,000 New Jerseyans voting with their feet and moving out of the state. Christie offered an 88 point plan to turn New Jersey around that was short on specifics but generally promised lower taxes, lower government spending and an improved business climate.

It was working. Then came September.

Corzine charged that Christies’ plan to make health care more affordable by allowing competition from out-of-state insurers and reducing mandated coverage was “anti-woman.” Corzine alleged that Christie would take away a woman’s access to mammograms and that new mothers would be kicked out of the hospital hours after delivering babies.

Suddenly the campaign was not about taxes, spending, unemployment and the economy, but mammograms. Christie surrendered his double-digit lead among independent women to Corzine. Corzine’s numbers stayed in the high 30’s to low 40’s, but Christie came down to the low to mid 40’s and stayed there.

On September 30 — the day before the first televised debate among the candidates — independent Daggett unveiled a plan to reduce property taxes twenty-five percent by expanding the state’s seven percent sales tax to goods and services currently not taxed, and increasing tolls on New Jersey’s highways. After a credible debate performance, Daggett’s numbers shot from the mid-single digits to as high as 20% in some polls. And most of his newfound support came from those who had previously supported Christie.

For the first time all year, the fight was on.

Christie, who received state matching funds and is therefore limited to spending just under $11 million against Corzine’s personal fortune, spent precious resources fighting off Daggett’s surge.

He characterized Daggett’s plan as “Corzine-lite.” Daggett’s numbers started to fall back down to earth and 60% of his potential voters told pollsters that they were likely to change their minds before Election Day….most in favor of Christie.

Corzine counter-punched with more negative attacks on Christie and also by relying on the star power of President Obama and former President Clinton to rally New Jersey’s large (but sometimes too lazy to vote) group of radical left wing voters.

But one of those Corzine ads backfired. Coupled with an unflattering picture, Corzine accused the obese Christie of “throwing his weight around.” The state Democratic chairman Assemblyman Joseph Cryan mused at a rally, “What would it feel like if the next governor weighs 350 pounds?”

Voters and the media pushed back on the personal attack, and Christie, who has been sensitive about his weight, used the attacks to put on a more human face for voters. The effort culminated in a very funny and self-effacing appearance on Don Imus’ radio show. Fox News’ Neil Cavuto declared the interview a game changer and predicted Christie would win because of how well he performed on Imus’s show.

With apologies to Cavuto and Imus, the final game changer could be Jon Corzine’s interview with The New York Times where he called his terribly unpopular scheme to sell New Jersey’s highways and increase tolls by 800% “an idea that worked.” In that moment of candor, Corzine may have wasted his $30 million campaign.

Why raise this unpopular and dead issue again? Perhaps sensing victory was at hand, Corzine was imagining that after an election win he could declare, “Even during the last days of the campaign I spoke in favor of an asset monetization plan. The voters gave me a mandate to do it.”

But the negative reaction was swift and fierce. Union workers and Democratic political appointees at the New Jersey Turnpike Authority were throwing pro-Corzine flyers in the trash. Down-the-line Democratic candidates who recently were warming to Corzine were again running for cover. Republicans have now spent the final days of the campaign talking up what voters least liked about Corzine — his “sell the Turnpike” plan.

The momentum appears to be with Christie, but the impact of President Obama’s eleventh hour appearance for Corzine has not been reflected in the polls yet.

As Daggett-leaning voters are reconsidering their choice, Republicans are pointing fingers. They’re pointing them at the New Jersey State Democratic Committee and accusing them of making automated calls into Republican areas urging voters to vote for Daggett. That is fueling lingering suspicions among Republicans that Daggett’s campaign has been nothing but a stalking horse for Corzine all along, designed to siphon Tea Party voters and New Jersey’s perennial “Throw the Bums Out” votes away from Christie.

The latest Quinnipiac University poll finds that Christie is up by 2 points in their latest poll. Tomorrow night we’ll get what even pollsters call, “the only poll that counts,” — actual votes in an election. Then we’ll find out if Christie was able to hold his lead to the end or if the four horsemen of his political apocalypse will be mammograms, weight jokes, an Obama bounce and Chris Daggett.

{FOX Newscenter}


  1. the gaava, and steping on the tzibur are coming back to haunt everyone, because while corzine may indeed be better for lakewood than cristie, people are so sick they’ll do anything to make them irrelevant.

  2. In the “Readers Write” section of the 12 Cheshvan 5770, October 30 2009, edition of the Yated, there is the following entry which I will quote in full:


    “Dear Editor,

    I have been very surprised to see a
    number of political endorsements addressing
    the Orthodox Jewish community
    asking them to vote for Democratic
    gubernatorial incumbent Jon Corzine of
    New Jersey.
    The gist of the logic is that the endorsers
    would have us believe that our
    community can milk more money out
    of Corzine for education: schools and
    yeshivos as well as government help and
    protection regarding a number of local
    issues, relevant to the various Jewish
    communities that make up New Jersey.
    As a resident of New Jersey who sees
    what is happening in my state, I am having
    diffi culty fi nding justifi cation for community
    leaders using or perhaps abusing
    their infl uence by urging the Orthodox
    community to vote for a person who has,
    at best, a very dubious record in many
    areas that are relevant to our community.
    As pointed out in the front-page story of
    last week’s Yated, Corzine has driven the
    already high taxes in New Jersey to unprecedented
    levels; his massive toll hikes
    have cynically taken advantage of New
    Jersey residents dependence on highway
    travel, and his position on defi ning moral
    issues is completely at odds with the Torah
    Perhaps even more importantly, the
    members of the Torah observant community
    must understand that a vote for
    Corzine is a vote for Obama!
    The New Jersey race is being closely
    watched, and if a traditionally Democratic
    state goes Republican, this is the strongest
    message possible that we can send to
    Obama that his policies represent a danger
    to Americans and especially to acheinu
    Bnei Yisroel in Eretz Yisroel.
    A vote for Corzine is a vote for Obama
    and just increases the probability of the
    Hitler in Iran going nuclear and threatening
    our brethren in Eretz Yisroel. A vote
    for Corzine just helps facilitate the atmosphere
    that let the Goldstone Report pass,
    and threaten Israel with pariah status in
    the world. A vote for Corzine tells Obama
    that you are not outraged at his lopsided
    outreach to the Arab world where all of
    their excesses are excused and Israel’s
    supposed faults are magnifi ed under a microscope.
    A vote for Corzine tells Obama
    that he can continue with his ineffectual
    policies that embolden the Communists
    and quasi-Communists in China and Russia
    and wink at other human rights abuses
    in Sudan and everywhere else in the world
    except for Israel.
    I am not an influential community
    leader, nor do I head a national organization
    or institution of learning, but I also
    don’t have the negius of any public fi gure
    whose organizations are sitting at the
    public trough.
    I am just a simple resident of Lakewood
    scratching my head and trying to
    understand how local concerns override
    Klal Yisroel’s concerns.

    A Working Stif”

    I well remember how Maran Rav Avigdor Miller, ZT’L, often thundered against this tendancy of our community to vote Democratic. In the early and middle parts of the 20th Century, it was understandable, for then the Democratic party was viewed as being the “working man’s party” — the party of the “middle guy.” However, in the latter part of the century, the party was taken over by people who promote the opinions of the radical left: non-opposition of Communism, support of women’s “liberation,” support of women’s “right” to murder their unborn children, and activism for “rights” for Toeiva people.


  3. corzine is for toeiva that should be enough reason not to vote for him how can the vaad …. they are only interested in money a shandeh

  4. RAv Simcha B. Cohen said countless times {available on last weeks lunch and learn on Kol Halashon) that all frum people must vote Christie. When we see the lowness of Corzine we dont really need any Askan or … to tell us what is right and what isnt. We had enough of this communist back room politics run by one or at best a few people. Lakewood suffered enough.
    Anyone worried about the “Kesser Torah” wouldnt dare look at a Rasha who wants to make Lakewood, N.J. another Sodom V’amorah!
    Religious Goyim vote Christie out of contientiosness but we frummer won”t?


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