BY PAM LOBLEY
NOW THAT’S FUNNY
A new poll shows that a majority of New Jersey voters would not support Christie for a second term. The poll, a survey of 1,302 adults conducted for Bloomberg by Selzer & Co., showed a favorable rating of the governor of just 43 percent.
Residents disapproved of governor’s positions on a host of issues including cancelling the commuter rail tunnel to New York City, not extending a surcharge on the state’s highest earning taxpayers, and the deep cuts he’s made in education spending. The overall gist of the poll is that people feel Christie has been too extreme in his budget cutbacks, and they don’t want that.
A month ago, the Republicans were flying in to New Jersey, begging him to run for President. Now, apparently, he won’t even get a second term as governor. What gives?
What gives is polls. Every time I turn on the television or the internet, I am confronted with a new poll about who is up and who is down. The pollsters can’t get enough of popularity polls. President Obama’s approval numbers are checked more often than a compulsive dieter checks her scale. When I started writing this column this afternoon Mitt Romney was the front runner for the Republican nomination and now, just 10 minutes later, Michelle Bachmann is. Sarah Palin says she probably won’t run, but if she did, polls say she would be the front runner.
Governor Christie has taken a hard line on spending, and that has angered many people. The idea of cutting spending sounded great to people when he first got elected, because we all know we need to cut spending, so Christie was popular. But then he started cutting spending in a way that we all felt it, and we don’t like it, so now he is unpopular. If the state gets healthier and fiscally sound, and taxes stay low, he will be popular again.
Christie faces reelection in 2013. A lot can and will happen before then. If he commandeers another helicopter: unpopular. If he can afford to give us a property tax rebate: popular. If more teachers are laid off: unpopular. If pension funds get richer: popular. Polls used to be a barometer. Now they’re more like a weather vane.
If Bloomberg were taking a survey of my popularity, it might go like this. Let my kids sleep in this morning: popular. Didn’t make pancakes but just poured cereal instead: unpopular. Let them play computer games for three hours: popular. Made them to go a tennis clinic: unpopular. I’m glad my job is not up for reelection.
In the meantime, I think I know a segment of the workforce that might be hiring: pollsters.
Pam Lobley writes the “Now That’s Funny” column. Sign up for her mailing list at www.pamlobley.com.
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