April 14, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
April 14, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Governing In The Eye Of The Storm

Amidst a barrage of controversy and under the dark and ominous cloud of a growing scandal that hovers above him, Chris Christie is still the Governor of New Jersey.

While the reaction to much of the Bridgegate controversy has primarily focused on Christie’s 2016 presidential prospects, the practical impact that it has on his role as Governor is often overlooked. Despite all the unanswered questions that continue to swirl and the various investigations into the lane closure episode, Chris Christie’s gubernatorial tenure endures and he has to continue governing.

The issues and concerns of the approximately 8.9 million residents of New Jersey do not magically disappear simply because their Governor is fighting for his political life. Property tax relief, the state’s fiscal condition, rebuilding in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, education, health benefits, and rising pension costs remain real issues that must be addressed, irrespective of Governor Christie’s political problems.

However, although Governor Christie theoretically must continue to govern, the reality is that his ability to lead the Garden State is significantly impaired by the controversy that has enveloped his administration.

As Chris Christie fights for his political life, a recent Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll found that 56% of New Jersey residents believe that the Governor is more concerned about his political future than with governing the State of New Jersey. This is rather significant because it is the first time since Christie took office that a majority of New Jersey residents believe that his interest in his personal political career outweighs his interest in the issues that are important to New Jersey.

In more troubling news for Governor Christie, the poll found that his job approval rating is now at just 50%, which means that his approval rating has plummeted 20 points over the last year. Since the news of the Bridgegate scandal broke, Christie’s approval numbers dropped 15 points.

In another unsettling sign for Chris Christie, the poll also found that his management of the recovery and rebuilding effort after Sandy is being openly questioned by New Jersey residents. According to the poll, only 4-in-10 residents would give the Christie Administration a grade of A (10%) or B (30%) for its handling of the Superstorm Sandy recovery, while another 32% would give the administration a C, and 1-in-4 would give just a D (16%) or an F (9%). That is a precipitous drop from the 70% of New Jersey residents that thought Christie deserved an A or a B just five short months ago.

If Governor Christie believes even for a moment that the average New Jersey resident is not paying attention to the Bridgegate scandal, he is sadly mistaken. One other interesting tidbit from the Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll is that a whopping 92% of New Jerseyans are following the Bridgegate story. In addition, 61% of New Jersey residents believe that Christie is not being totally honest about what he knows regarding the circumstances surrounding Bridgegate. Further, of the New Jerseyans who have actually been following the controversy, half of them believe that Christie was personally involved in the decision to close the toll lanes in Fort Lee near the George Washington Bridge.

To his credit, Governor Christie has desperately been trying to salvage his political career. In an effort to regain the faith of New Jersey residents, he is attempting to demonstrate a renewed ability to govern by reverting back to his inimitable style of governance and by engaging in campaign-style retail politics.

For example, the Governor held three Town Hall Meetings over the past several weeks, at which he met with New Jerseyans, answered an array of questions, and discussed a number of important issues, such as federal Sandy recovery funds and his budget priorities for the state’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget.

The problem is that despite Chris Christie’s dogged efforts to get past the Bridgegate scandal, he is unable to do so. He can run from Bridgegate, but he cannot hide from Bridgegate.

Chris Christie will continue to govern because that is what he must do, despite the inquiries and investigations that persist. However, with a big bull’s-eye on his back, Christie is now only a shell of the political superstar that he once was.

N. Aaron Troodler is an attorney and a principal of Paul Revere Public Relations, a public relations and political consulting firm. Visit him on the Web at TroodlersTake.blogspot.com, www.PaulReverePR.com, or www.JewishWorldPR.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @troodler

By N. Aaron Troodler, Esq.

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles