We are entering the homestretch of the two important political races this year, for the New Jersey and Virginia Governorships. These offer interesting contrasts.
Chris Christie has lead by 10 - 12 points throughout the spring and summer. His lead has now shrunk to 2 - within the margin of error.The race was his to lose and he is doing a good job.Corzine's approval rating is below 40% . The state is an economic basket case with the highest combined income,sales and property taxes in the nation. The only net jobs that have been created in the past ten years are in a public sector that is out of control.
One would think that Christie would be hammering away on reducing taxes and spending. He basically has been doing anything but. He believed his anticorruption record would be all he would need. Now Corzine has been putting out ads tying Christie to Bush, and himself to Obama. Apparently in New Jersey this works.
The state may in fact be hopeless, perhaps suicidally liberal. Yet certainly a better, more focused campaign on Christie's part would be welcome.
The story is far different in Virginia. Republican candidate Bob McDonnell leads Democrat Creigh Deeds by 8 points. He has successfully linked Deeds to many of Obama's core policies such as cap and trade, card check and public option health care. Former Democratic Governor Wilder declined Obama's urging to endorse Deeds. Obama's approval rating in Virginia is below the national average i.e. in the mid 40's. In a sensible, middle of the road state like Virginia, connection to Obama is a liability.
It will be interesting to watch these races evolve over the next month.