One of the hardest things for conservatives to get past may be Christie’s “bro-mance” with President Obama. When Hurricane Sandy struck New Jersey and New York a week before the 2012 election, the two executives toured storm damaged areas and traded compliments. A famous photo shows the two men shaking hands, Obama resting his hand on Christie’s shoulder, in Atlantic City on Oct. 31, 2012. Many conservatives, such as pollster and pundit Dick Morris, blame Christie for making Obama look like a bipartisan leader, an appraisal that had eluded him for the previous four years.
An Examiner analysis of 2012 exit polls found that 64 percent of voters said that the president’s response to the hurricane was a factor in their vote and 62 percent of these voters chose Obama. Both Rasmussen and Gallup polling showed an uptick in Obama’s approval ratings in the days after Hurricane Sandy struck New York.
There are several theories as to why Christie, who actively supported Mitt Romney, became a cheerleader for Barack Obama less than a week before a very close election. The most likely answer is that Christie was doing what he thought was best for his state. It probably did not hurt that the move was also good for Chris Christie. The governor’s approval rating jumped to 70 percent after the storm according to Philly.com.
In the end, Chris Christie can’t be accurately termed a RINO, but neither is he a hardcore conservative. If he were, he would be unelectable in a state as blue as New Jersey. In reality, Christie seems to be a fiscal conservative who is moderate on most social issues. Christie’s views might play well with moderate voters in a general election, but the recent shift towards libertarianism by many in the Republican Party makes it unlikely that he will get past the primary unless other candidates split the votes of social conservatives and Tea Partiers.
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