The light that burns twice as bright, lasts half as long. The saying is fitting for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who quickly became a rising star in the Republican Party, and just as quickly fell out of favor. He went from being the most popular Republican Governor in the country to the least over his two terms in office.
Governor Christie left office this week with a record low approval rating of 13% according to Rutgers. The poll also asked respondents how the felt about the Governor leaving office. Only 5% responded that they were going to miss him, whereas 49% chose the “don’t let the door hit you on the way out” option.
Chris Christie: the third least popular Governor in modern U.S. history
After the brief state government shutdown over the summer of 2017, Christie’s numbers sank to a then-new low of 15%. As reported by FiveThirtyEight at the time, that made the New Jersey Governor just barely more popular than other U.S. Governors that had been convicted of crimes.
Former Ohio Governor Bob Taft had the lowest approval rating in the history of polling at 7%, with former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich just above him at 8%. In third place was former Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski at 14%.
Over the past six months, Chris Christie somehow managed to drop his numbers another two points. His final approval rating of 13% edges out Murkowski, and makes him the least popular New Jersey Governor in history, and the third least popular Governor in modern United States history.
A welcome end to a disastrous political career
Conservatives were initially enamored with Chris Christie because of the way talked to the media. He was direct and confrontational in a time when the President was anything but. Unfortunately, while he often criticized various liberal groups and ideas, he didn’t do a very good job actually fighting them.
Chris Christie was always a big government, establishment Republican. Under his administration, New Jersey joined the Obamacare federal exchange, participated in the expansion of Medicaid, and accepted Common Core standards. Christie himself was awarded various middling grades from the Cato Institute, a C from the NRA, and a 23% grade from Conservative Review.
In addition, Christie was a particularly hawkish neoconservative. He often feuded with conservatives who supported non-interventionist foreign policy or advocated for surveillance reform. In short, he was a big government bully – one that the voters eventually grew tired of.
The White House has repeatedly rebuffed Christie’s numerous attempts to get a position in the Trump administration, and with that, his political career is all but over.
(Photo of Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland by Gage Skidmore)