If more political reporters lived in New Jersey, Christie would be fine

IF MORE POLITICAL REPORTERS LIVED IN NEW JERSEY, CHRISTIE WOULD BE FINE…. A few days ago, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough told viewers that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie reduces him “to a 14-year-old girl at a Beatles concert.”

This is not an uncommon sentiment among media professionals. For years, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) used to joke that political reporters loved him so much, they were his “base.” As McCain descends into ignominy, it appears the media has shifted its affections to Christie.

What’s more, many of the governor’s media devotees are absolutely convinced that voters love Christie as much as they do.

But that’s not the case. National Journal flagged the two latest statewide polls out of the Garden State.

The polls, from Quinnipiac and Rutgers-Eagleton, show Christie’s approval rating in New Jersey slipping a bit, with significant majorities skeptical that he’d make a good president or vice-president. The polling shows that Christie is one of the most polarizing governors in recent New Jersey history, with more voters holding both a very favorable view of him and an extremely negative view. […]

The Quinnipiac survey shows Christie with a 46 percent job approval rating, with 44 percent disapproving. That’s down from his 51 percent approval rating last month…. The Rutgers poll found 39 percent giving Christie positive ratings, with 54 percent rating him negatively. The 28 percent of voters who consider his job performance “poor” is the second-highest for any first-year governor in the history of the poll.

Some of this has to do with Christie’s deliberately abrasive, confrontational style. It’s not uncommon for clips of the governor upbraiding a constituent to generate lots of clicks on YouTube — they apparently make Scarborough squeal — and that’s not an accident. A gubernatorial aide follows Christie around so these aggressive confrontations can be captured and shared. Christie has an image as a bully, and he likes that image and chooses to cultivate it as much as possible.

But it’s not just style. Jonathan Singer noted this week that substance as taken its toll on the governor’s standing, too: “Christie presided over an administration that made a mistake costing his state $400 million in federal education money. He has taken further steps to reject federal dollars in a way that killed tens of thousands of jobs. Those aren’t popular steps.”

This is no doubt shocking to the media professionals who swoon over Christie, but I’m sure they’ll get over it. Eventually.

Reader G.S. emailed me the other day with a comparison that’s accurate and will likely ring true with football fans: “Chris Christie is the Rex Ryan of politics: a breath of fresh air and good fun for the first 15 minutes, an annoying blowhard ever thereafter, even to his fans once they realized that he actually believed his initial clips.”