Could NJ Economy, Unemployment Become Issues for Christie?
As he continues his run for the GOP nomination for the 2016 presidential election, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie remains in the back of a crowded Republican field. So far, New Jersey's sluggish economy and unemployment rate have not been raised as campaign issues so far, but that may not be the case for long.
According to Ben Dworkin, a political science professor at Rider University, other Republican candidates are not even bothering to criticize Christie about New Jersey's economy right now.
"When you're running at 1 percent, 4 percent in the national polls, the top people in the Republican primary are not going to be spending their time hitting you," Dworkin said.
However, if Christie starts to move up in the polls, the Garden State's economy could weigh heavily on his chances of winning the GOP nomination.
"That's when the state of the economy in New Jersey can really have an impact on his presidential chances," Dworkin said. "Then it becomes fodder for those who become threatened by his candidacy, and that threat isn't very real right now."
Dworkin said if you're going to criticize someone in a political campaign you have to do it in a manner that the public understands.
"If he starts to gain momentum, his rivals will focus on things that the public can get their head around, like 9 credit downgrades, or 49th in job growth and economic growth," Dworkin said.
Dworkin said it remains to be seen if the economy is a top focus of the campaign for the candidates.
"You may well have a situation where foreign affairs, for example, is more important to the electorate and therefore people will criticize Chris Christie for being a governor and not having any real experience in foreign affairs. We'll have to see what develops," he said.
He also said presidential elections historically are about the future about a person's vision for where you want to take the country, and people don't vote for president the way they vote for governor. He said Bill Clinton in 1992 was a good example of this, when Arkansas was still lagging in many areas but that didn't matter because Clinton found a way to connect with the Democratic primary electorate.