Why Booker Stands A Chance Of Beating Christie

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie currently has 70%+ approval ratings in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and Republican governors have historically been difficult to unseat in New Jersey. Nate Cohn of The New Republic argues that Newark Mayor Cory Booker should ignore this stuff: “Booker’s opportunity and Christie’s vulnerability are based on one important, obvious fact about New Jersey: It’s a blue state. Obama won it last month by 18 points, and the exit polls showed that 44 percent of voters identified as Democrats, a formidable18-point advantage over self-identified Republicans. While that margin is probably lower in an off-year electorate, a Republican candidate in New Jersey needs to win about 20 percent of self-identified Democrats and a similar percentage of voters who cast ballots for Democratic candidates in presidential elections. That’s why Republicans struggle in statewide races: No GOP candidate has eclipsed 50 percent of the vote in a gubernatorial, senatorial, or presidential contest since George H.W. Bush in 1988.”

He continues, about the moderate-liberal Democrat’s gubernatorial chances: “The three post-Sandy surveys show Christie at 50, 53, and 53 percent of the vote in a hypothetical match-up against Booker, giving him a big lead over Booker’s tallies in the mid- to upper- thirties. But most undecided voters are Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents and the reluctance of 47 percent of New Jersey voters to support Christie at the peak of his popularity suggests the potential for a close race, should Booker run. Nonetheless, 53 percent is good enough for victory, and usually an incumbent at 50-plus percent of the vote wouldn’t be considered especially vulnerable.”