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Tuesday, November 05, 2013 8:36 PM

Chris Christie Wins Reelection in Landslide; Election Exit Poll Statistics; Reflections on Christie's Win

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The New York Times reports Chris Christie Re-elected Governor of New Jersey.

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey won re-election by a crushing margin on Tuesday, a victory that vaulted him to the front ranks of Republican presidential contenders and made him his party’s foremost proponent of pragmatism over ideology.

In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by over 700,000, Mr. Christie won decisively, making impressive inroads among younger voters, blacks, Hispanics and women — groups that Republicans nationally have struggled to attract.

The governor prevailed, according to exit polls, despite holding positions contrary to those of many New Jersey voters on many issues, including same-sex marriage, abortion rights and the minimum wage, and despite an economic recovery that has trailed the rest of the country. But he attracted a broad coalition by campaigning as a decisive, even swaggering, leader who could reach across the aisle to solve problems, unlike the bickering politicians of Washington.

Republicans panicked by the surge in activist support for the rabble-rousing Tea Party wing represented by Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul were cheered by Mr. Christie’s success, saying they hope the party will learn not only from the size of Mr. Christie’s margin over Barbara Buono, a Democratic state senator, but also from the makeup of his support.

“We’ll be led back by our governors, and Chris Christie is now at the forefront of that resurgence,” said Ed Gillespie, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee. “He’s proved that a conservative Republican can get votes from Hispanics and African-Americans, that a pro-life governor can get votes from women. This means that those voters are available to us, that we’re not shut out demographically or geographically — that it’s worth the effort.”

His national profile will only increase later this month as he takes over as head of the Republican Governors Association. That position gives him sway over which state races the party chooses to spend money on, allowing him to rack up favors with other Republican politicians and create relationships with local leaders in key presidential states.

On Tuesday morning, well before polls closed on his re-election, Mr. Christie said he would be appearing frequently in “places like Ohio and Michigan and Florida,” all states with incumbent Republican governors up for re-election next year, and he offered that he was also willing to help Republican incumbents in Iowa and South Carolina, states that appear early on the presidential campaign calendar.

Democrats in New Jersey who supported his re-election would not go so far as to say they would support him for president. Still, even they praised his potential for his party.

“For the sake of the nation, somebody needs to rebuke the crazies,” said former Gov. Jim McGreevey, a Democrat who now works with prisoner re-entry and praises Mr. Christie’s commitment to rehabilitation programs. “This is the party of Lincoln, of Eisenhower, this is one of the great political parties in the history of democracy. What Christie has done speaks to the notion that Republicans can win if there is an adherence to principle that is guided by a healthy pragmatism.”
Exit Polls

The NYT has some interesting exit polls. I put them in table form.

GenderChris ChristieBarbara Buono
Share of voteChange from 2009Share of voteChange from 2009
Male 46% of voters 61%+8 pct. pts.37%-3 pct. pts.
Female 54% 55%+10 pct. pts.43%-7 pct. pts.
Race and EthnicityChris ChristieBarbara Buono
Share of voteChange from 2009Share of voteChange from 2009
White 72% of voters 68%+9 pct. pts.31%-3 pct. pts.
Black 15% 20%+11 pct. pts.79%-9 pct. pts.
Hispanic 9% 48%+16 pct. pts.48%-17 pct. pts.
Asian 3% N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.
AgeChris ChristieBarbara Buono
Share of voteChange from 2009Share of voteChange from 2009
18-29 10% of voters 47%+11 pct. pts.53%-4 pct. pts.
30-44 21% 52%+2 pct. pts.46%+2 pct. pts.
45-64 46% 60%+12 pct. pts.38%-8 pct. pts.
65+ 23% 64%+9 pct. pts.35%-5 pct. pts.
EducationChris ChristieBarbara Buono
Share of voteChange from 2009Share of voteChange from 2009
No H.S. diploma 3% of voters N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.
High school grad 21% 62%+14 pct. pts.37%-9 pct. pts.
Some college 24% 61%+12 pct. pts.37%-7 pct. pts.
College 29% 61%+7 pct. pts.37%-2 pct. pts.
Postgrad 24% 48%+4 pct. pts.50%0 pct. pts.
ReligionChris ChristieBarbara Buono
Share of voteChange from 2009Share of voteChange from 2009
Protestant 34% of voters 59%N.A.40%N.A.
Catholic 42% 72%N.A.27%N.A.
Jewish 5% N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.
All other 9% N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.
PartyChris ChristieBarbara Buono
Share of voteChange from 2009Share of voteChange from 2009
Democrat 42% of voters 31%+23 pct. pts.67%-19 pct. pts.
Republican 27% 92%+1 pct. pts.7%+1 pct. pts.
Independent or something else 31% 64%+4 pct. pts.33%+3 pct. pts.
IncomeChris ChristieBarbara Buono
Share of voteChange from 2009Share of voteChange from 2009
Under $50,000 28% of voters 51%+11 pct. pts.46%-9 pct. pts.
$50,000-$99,999 33% 57%+11 pct. pts.41%-6 pct. pts.
$100,000 or more 39% 62%+7 pct. pts.36%-4 pct. pts.
IdeologyChris ChristieBarbara Buono
Share of voteChange from 2009Share of voteChange from 2009
Liberal 26% of voters 29%+20 pct. pts.68%-15 pct. pts.
Moderate 49% 60%+12 pct. pts.39%-6 pct. pts.
Conservative 25% 85%+3 pct. pts.14%-1 pct. pts.
Sex, Race and EthnicityChris ChristieBarbara Buono
Share of voteChange from 2009Share of voteChange from 2009
White men 34% 69%+6 pct. pts.29%0 pct. pts.
White women 38% 67%+11 pct. pts.32%-6 pct. pts.
Black men 6% 23%+12 pct. pts.77%-8 pct. pts.
Black women 9% 18%+11 pct. pts.80%-10 pct. pts.
Hispanic men 4% N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.
Hispanic women 5% 42%+14 pct. pts.54%-16 pct. pts.
All other races 4% 47%N.A.46%N.A.

Those exit poll results are from 7:57 p.m. E.S.T. Please check back in with the New York Times for updated returns.

Reflections on Christie's Win

Without a doubt Christie is now a national frontrunner for the 2016 election.

Is that a good thing? 

Here is my answer in context. Readers know I preferred Christie over Mitt Romney in 2012. It was a case of the unknown vs. the known. Romney wanted a war with Iran and a trade war with China. That coupled with his stance on abortion made him unelectable.

Independents would not and did not vote for him.

Where Christie stands on unions is known and welcome. However, we still do not know much else about Christie.

Where does he stand on war-mongering, military spending in general, security, Obamacare,  the NSA, the Fed, and trade policy?

Those are all unknowns.

But we do know his strong right to life message is not going to play well with most pro-choice independents, including this one. Republicans really need to throw that issue into the trashcan where it belongs. It can (and did) contribute to national election defeats.

Here's the deal. Voters, in general, can live with some restrictions on abortion. A huge majority cannot  accept the viewpoint that abortion should be totally outlawed.

Republicans would be smart to adopt a middle of the road approach, as opposed to the religious-wrong approach of overturning Rove vs. Wade.

Similarly (right, wrong, or otherwise), the majority of Americans are in favor of  "some" gun control measures. I can debate this from either side. But debate is pointless. The simple fact of the matter is that Republicans do not do themselves any favors by nominating extreme candidates on these issues.

In contrast to Christie, we know where Rand Paul stands on all of those issues. And while I do not agree with Paul on everything, this time I will take the known (Rand Paul) as opposed to the unknown (Chris Christie).

Given they seem to agree on my one key dispute with Paul, my position is highly unlikely to change. Still, Republicans can do far worse than Christie.

Mitt Romney was a complete disaster. Hopefully the Republican leadership learned a lesson. If  they didn't, and if Republicans nominate another extreme right basket-case, Republicans can expect to lose the election to Hillary Clinton in 2016. Don't blame me, I am only the messenger.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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