The breakdown at 8:00am on Wednesday, November 4th, the morning after Chris Christie was elected the 55th governor of New Jersey (with 99% of the vote counted);
Chris Christie (R) received 1,140,134 votes (49%)
Jon Corzine (D)received 1,040,404 votes (45%)
Chris Daggett(I) received 132,919 votes (6%)
(Source- NJ.com )
Going into election day most polls had Christie slightly ahead by 2 percent or less. In some polls Chris Daggett was in double digits, while Jon Corzine remained static. Every indication was that the next governor of New Jersey would be elected with less than 45% of the vote.
Daggett's support was softer than most polls indicated. At last moment it appears that many voters shifted their votes to Christie to give him a larger margin of victory than anticipated.
Christie's win, with less than 50% of the vote, indicates less an endorsement of him than a repudiation of Jon Corzine. This election showed an electorate that was less than enthusiastic about the candidates.
The one major issue that won this election for Chris Christie was property taxes, followed closely the economy, then corruption, then health care (according to exit polls compiled for the print edition of the Star-Ledger).
WHAT THIS WAS NOT ABOUT (using the same exit polls from the Star-Ledger)- this WAS NOT a referendum about Barack Obama.
When asked Was one reason for your vote for governor today: to express support for Barack Obama 19% responded in the affirmative.
When asked Was one reason for your vote for governor today to express opposition to Barack Obama 19% said yes.
A whopping 60% said that Barack Obama was not a factor.
(Source- Star-Ledger print edition, page 15, left hand column, 11/4/09).
One thing President Obama's appearances did do in New Jersey was to galvanize the hard core conservative base, as admitted last night on News 12 New Jersey by ultra conservative former candidate for governor Steve Lonegan.The bottom line was they were backing Christie anyway so "The Obama Factor" was awash in New Jersey.
The usual suspects on the right will make this about Obama, but it wasn't. It was about a sagging economy that has yet to recover substantially, high property taxes, and a governor who was not very popular with his electorate, or to some degree within his own Democratic Party.
Consider this; New Jersey is a bell weather state- and the bell weather of that bell weather is Middlesex County, the crossroads of the state. The northern half, above the Raritan River, is semi-urban- on clear crisp days you can practically reach out and touch the skyline of Manhattan. The Southern half of the county gives way to farms and open spaces. It is traditionally blue- mainly working class Democrats descended from the immigrants from the early 20th century, mixed in with African Americans who came North from the rural South in the Industrial Age, and more recent arrivals from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia.
Middlesex is a Democratic stronghold; and incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine lost to Chris Christie by about 5,000 votes. But there's more; when you factor in the 12,000 votes Chris Daggett received in Middlesex County, 183,000 votes cast in total, Jon Corzine only got 48.6% of the vote. An election result like that happens in Middlesex maybe once every 20 years.
If anything, this was a bad year to be an incumbent or a member of an incumbent party. Corzine found that out, as was in the case in Virginia. Even more telling about the fragility of the incumbency is what happened across the Hudson in New York. Incumbent Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I) was supposed to clobber Democratic challenger Bill Thompson by double digits- few outside of New York even had a clue who Bloomberg was running against. Yet when the dust settled Bloomberg won by only 5%, 51 to 46%. If there had been a Republican incumbent running in New Jersey or in Virginia, there might have been the same result; the challenger wins. People are scared- and its still about the economy, stupid....and not about anything else.
So let the spinners spin away....that's what they get paid to do. Even if most of them don't have a clue about what really won or lost in New Jersey.
In closing- As stated before, I'm not going to root for Governor elect Christie to fail. I don't suck my thumb, I don't stamp my feet, and I left the third grade a whole lot of years ago.
And by the way- I don't even really like to drink tea...putting ground up leaves in little bags is so silly. Wearing them as a fashion accessory is even sillier.
The stakes in New Jersey are too high. We need a successful four years from our next governor.
Good luck, Mr. Christie.
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