Newark Mayor Cory Booker says he can defeat New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in a potential gubernatorial race. Recent polls suggest that Booker and his fellow Democrats are in for a rude awakening in 2013.
"We think that to any Democrat, Christie is vulnerable … as it should be, because there's a lot of issues in the state he's not falling in line with. From women's issues, from environmental issues, from really going in a balanced way," Booker said earlier this week on CNN.
However, New Jersey voters say 67-25 percent that Christie deserves reelection next November, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
"The only Democrat who shows any oomph against Gov. Christopher Christie, the hero of Hurricane Sandy, is Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Even he trails (Christie) by double digits," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Christie miffed some Republicans outside of New Jersey by praising President Obama before Election Day, but it is not reflected in the strong support he enjoys from Garden State conservatives. More than 9-in-10 GOP voters would support Christie in a race versus Booker.
Perhaps more ominously for Democrats, Christie holds a 64-20 lead among independent voters. All told, the Quinnipiac survey indicates Christie would beat Booker by a comfortable 18 point margin, 53-35.
It's not that voters dislike Booker: the young mayor is viewed favorably by most New Jersey residents, and Christie's margin of victory would widen if any other Democrat were to challenge the incumbent.
Christie is likely to parlay his image as an honest dealer into a run for the White House in 2016. He made a blatantly self-serving speech at the GOP Convention in Tampa this August, signaling his national ambitions.
Any hard feelings between Christie and the GOP brain trust will have faded a few years from now when the GOP needs a candidate to challenge potentially formidable Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
As the New Jersey poll suggests, for every hard-core Republican that felt betrayed, Christie probably won over two independents looking for more cooperation, or at least civility, between the two major parties.
One of the key criticisms of the Romney candidacy was that the former Massachusetts governor was deeply unpopular in his home state. The same will not be said about Christie unless New Jersey voters have a dramatic change of heart.
by RTT Staff Writer
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