“I’m enormously relieved we don’t have a criminal in the White House like Hillary Clinton,” Christie said to the first one. To Mike from Montclair: “I love getting calls from communists in Montclair.” And: “You're a bum.”
That last comment came as Christie was complaining about a caller who had referred to his weight and told him to bring a certain part of his anatomy to a beach that other New Jerseyans had access to. And that's actually not that uncommon a response to what has come to be known as “Beachgate.”
Shortly before Christie's appearance on Mike Francesa's radio show -- in which the governor was trying out to replace the retiring sports talker -- Monmouth University released a poll showing some brutal reviews for Christie's decision to sunbathe with his family on a closed beach during the shutdown. Among the most common groups of responses was “Jerk, profanity used.” Another 4 percent called him some form of “stupid” or an “idiot,” 4 percent called him a “hypocrite,” 3 percent called him "arrogant," and 3 percent referred to his physical appearance, as the caller did.
Here are the groups of responses:
|Haven't seen pictures||14%|
|Unbelievable, surprised, ridiculous||6%|
|Jerk, profanity used||6%|
|Stupid, idiot, dumb move||4%|
|Unfair, taken advantage of||4%|
|Typical, not surprised||3%|
|Sad, upset, confused||2%|
|Doesn't care anymore, bad governor||2%|
|Other negative comment||2%|
|Other general comment||2%|
|His right, good for him||2%|
|Takes nerve, guts||1%|
|Fake news, upset with media||1%|
Only about 1 in 10 New Jerseyans who had seen the pictures of the Christies' beach outing offered a neutral or positive response. As you can see, the rest were downright brutal.
Even among Republicans, 6 in 10 offered negative responses, and only 2 in 10 were neutral or positive — most of them (14 percent) being “not bothered.”
Christie's approval rating may not have dropped after the flap, but probably only because it had hit close to rock bottom. His approval/disapproval split in a Quinnipiac University poll last month was 15 percent approve/81 percent disapprove; in the new Monmouth poll, it's 15/80.
Indeed, the pollster says the silver lining in this new poll is that Christie's approval hasn't sunk into single digits. That will be tough to do, though; the last governor I found who was in the single digits had been indicted and was later convicted — Illinois's Rod Blagojevich. Ditto the guy before him, Ohio's Bob Taft, as FiveThirtyEight notes.
So it seems unlikely that Christie will sink much lower. He's already down to 30 percent of New Jersey Republicans who approve of him — significantly less than the 80 percent of New Jersey Republicans who like President Trump.
But that doesn't mean he won't try, apparently.