A couple weeks back, it looked a bit like the bully had been bullied, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) releasing nurse Kaci Hickox from a precautionary Ebola quarantine after she demanded he do so.
Turns out, the real winner here -- politically, at least -- is Chris Christie.
A new poll from Monmouth University shows New Jerseyans approve of his handling of the Ebola situation 53 percent to 27 percent -- about two-to-one. The federal government's response, by contrast, earns negative marks at 37 percent approval and 46 percent disapproval.
In addition, Christie's constituents approve 67-19 of quarantining Hickox after she landed at Newark Airport.
Where Christie gets more mixed results is in his decision to release Hickox, amid pressure, to a quarantine in her home in Maine -- a quarantine that she later flouted. Thirty-eight percent approve of Christie's decision here, while 40 percent disapprove.
At the same time, it appears Christie's tough, abundance-of-caution move to quarantine anybody like Hickox is what is driving support for him on this issue, and it reinforces the fact that -- despite cautions from the White House and experts that such moves are counter-productive -- people are very much looking for the kind of approach Christie took from their public officials.
A recent poll showed 80 percent of Americans supported the concept of some kind of quarantine. So, quelle surprise.
Of course, such serious health and public policy decisions should never be made by the will of the majority.
But for any governor thinking about going a different route than the White House -- as Christie, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) and Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) have -- Christie's example is hardly a cautionary tale.