Christie Still Has ‘A Lot of Work To Do’
Political experts say despite Gov. Chris Christie's recent policy speeches and visits to key states, has a lot of work to do.
Christie delivered his fifth policy speech Thursday. He has also spent a lot of time in early voting states. These are things presidential candidates need to do and Christie is doing more of them than most, if not all other Republicans in the crowded GOP primary field, but he has been unable to get the support he needs in the polls.
"One of the more damaging aspects of Gov. Christie's campaign has been his relationship or was his relationship particularly during Superstorm Sandy with President Obama," said Brigid Harrison, a political science professor at Montclair State University. "I think that a lot of GOP voters viewed his quote-unquote 'Obama embrace' as a betrayal and I think a lot of people still hold him (Christie) accountable for Mitt Romney's loss in 2012."
In Wednesday's policy speech on criminal justice reform, Christie said several times how things will be different "when" he's president. The following is just one excerpt from his speech:
"As President of the United States, let me remind you again what I am for and what I will do to reform our criminal justice system. I will fight for more police officers on the street that are taught to engage with the members of the communities they serve. I will fight to keep violent offenders behind bars and out of our neighborhoods. I will fight for common sense bail reform that keeps violent criminals in jail and allows non-violent offenders to get out to start on their second chance. I will fight to give those who have paid their debt to society a real second chance through education and job training. I will fight to treat drug addiction for the disease it is and to give tools to those afflicted to become better mothers and fathers, better husbands and wives, better sons and daughters."
There are other factors at play with regard to Christie's inability to move the needle with GOP voters nationally according to Seton Hall University political science professor Matt Hale.
"I think it's also compounded by the fact that there are so many Republican candidates now that there's so much noise out there," said Hale. "The only way I see him breaking through nationally and getting those poll numbers up is to really have a strong performance in the debates."
As it currently stands, only the Republican presidential candidates who place in the top 10 in national polls will be eligible to participate in the first GOP primary debate scheduled for Aug. 6. Christie is in the 10th place in the first survey released since he launched his presidential campaign on June 30.
"Right now he only has a very narrow path to victory with all his eggs in the New Hampshire basket," said Patrick Murray director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute which conducted the first survey after Christie's campaign launch. "The national polls don't matter to him because of this idea of momentum and if he does well in New Hampshire he'll do well in the polls, but he might not do well in New Hampshire."
Many have discovered that you count Christie out at your own peril, but Harrison said he is a long shot because his own party is reluctant to get behind him.
"This is a really difficult task ahead for him to kind of make his way back into that Republican soul," she said.
For his part, Christie has said he is in it to win it and has expressed public confidence that he can win the GOP presidential primary and capture the White House.