There Goes Christie’s Electability Argument

NJ Governor Chris Christie Holds Town Hall Meeting

Christie numbers have taken a beating:

His net favorability has dropped 27 points in a month from +12 at 43/31 to now -15 at 31/46. He’s gone from having the best numbers of the potential Republican candidates to the worst in the span of a month. Christie had been popular because of his unusual amount of appeal to Democrats and independents. But now he’s become deeply unpopular with both of those groups, dropping from 38/36 to 20/58 with the former and from 46/28 to 29/44 with the latter.

Last month Christie led Clinton in a head to head, 45/42. Now Clinton has the upper hand on him at 45/43. That’s similar to the small leads Clinton holds over the rest of her potential Republican opponents- she’s up 45/43 on Bush, 46/44 on Ryan, 46/43 on Huckabee and Paul, and 47/41 on Cruz.

Christie, it seems to me, had a couple of very strong arguments to make not so long ago. The first was his personality: brusque, no-nonsense, a bull-in-a-china-shop who’d be a natural response to the professorial, no-drama POTUS we currently have. Now, that personality is easily viewed through the prism of a Tony Soprano style politics – with more petty vindictiveness and bullying. His second argument was that he could appeal to Independents and Democrats. In fact, that appeal was behind the absurdly maximalist re-election campaign as governor. Maybe he’ll recover some of that bipartisan mojo – but the bloom is way off that rose. Ramesh looks on the bright side:

Christie’s chances of winning the nomination seem better than those of anyone else. And his recent troubles may help him insofar as they cause him to discard a risky strategy.

Before the last few weeks, he may have thought that after winning the nomination his sheer charisma would lead him to a general-election victory. Many Republicans think that it was Romney’s lack of charisma that lost him the presidency in 2012. That’s a mistake: The actual electoral difficulties of the Republican Party run much deeper than that.

The traffic scandal makes it less likely that Christie will go down this blind alley. It has made the downside of his personality loom larger, and so will force him to base his campaign on something else.

Kilgore talks up Huckabee, whose numbers rose as Christie’s fell:

The guy who might have the ideal combination of genuine support from hard-core conservatives without being toxic to non-Republicans is actually Huck. As you may recall, in 2008 Huck benefitted from the same sort of dynamic until he ran out of money. He won Iowa thanks to support from serious Christian Right types, but at the same time, had a positive image in the MSM thanks to his sunny disposition (you know, jokiness plus bass playing) and his refusal to pretend the W. economy was just aces.

(Photo: Getty.)