Why Does New Jersey — Especially its Republicans — Hate Chris Christie?
The reaction to New Jersey 101.5 host Bill Spadea's conversation with former Gov. Chris Christie was one of bitterness and anger.
The calls and comments after the Republican's appearance on Monday voiced disappointment in Spadea for having Christie on for a conversation that seemingly ended several years of animosity between the two.
"If you’re from Jersey, then you know from past experience that he is two-faced," one Facebook commenter said about Christie.
Then there was a May FDU poll that showed only 25% of New Jersey Republicans would consider supporting Christie for president.
Even 41% of New Hampshire Republicans in a USA Today/Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll after the second presidential debate named Christie as the candidate who should exit the race.
What's with all the animosity?
Micah Rasmussen, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University, says Christie left office with a 17% approval rating and hasn't done much to improve his standing with New Jersey voters.
Then there are the two incidents that marked his later years in the governor's office.
"One of them was Bridgegate and the other one was Beachgate where he was on island Beach State Park. Those are the things that New Jerseyans remember about him. It hasn't gotten any better for him. It's not as if time has faded those things. Those are the impressions that New Jerseyans still have of the guy and I don't think time is gonna heal those wounds," Rasmussen said.
When Christie was a superstar
At one point following Superstorm Sandy in November 2012, Christie had a 67% approval rate in a Rutgers-Eagleton poll. About 81% of respondents said he showed “needed cooperation and bipartisanship" to recover from the storm.
Rasmussen said it was a "sugar high" similar to President George W. Bush's popularity after 9/11.
"Ratings come back down to earth following that. Clearly, that's not what stuck. What stuck were those lasting images of the George Washington Bridge being closed and of Chris Christie at the beach when nobody else could be," Rasmussen said.
Rasmussen is not sure that there's anything Christie could do to win back New Jersey voters. But that lack of home support and the time to work on it could also hurt his presidential aspirations.
"The assumption has to kind of be that your home state is going to be there with you. And if it's not, it's kind of indicative of his larger chances in the presidential race really which is why he is where he is in the polls nationally," Rasmussen said.
Lack of big support in New Hampshire
As for the desire of New Hampshire voters to see Christie leave the race, Rasmussen said it's because he's on the opposite side of where most Granite State Republicans are.
"Right now the Republican Party is the Trump party and he is trying to pull the party away from their standard bearer. He is trying to get the party to move past Trump. And that's a pretty unpopular position when Trump is as popular as he is in the party right now," Rasmussen said.
Trump leads the USA Today/Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll at 49% with Nikki Haley at 19% and Ron DeSantis at 10% and Christie 6%.
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Gallery Credit: New Jersey 101.5