Nate Silver is better known for analyzing polls than he is for providing political analysis.
When he moved from the New York Times to ESPN the statistician expanded his empire by analyzing sports. But he has also, on his 538 blog, been evaluating the prospects of Republican presidential candidates.
Yesterday, Silver crunched some numbers, thought through the data and concluded that Chris Christie’s chances of being the Republican presidential nominee are overestimated.
For some Republicans that will come as very good news indeed.
One must note that Christie has hardly been a rousing success as governor. A recent analysis has shown that NewJersey is the state people are most likely to leave.
Silver begins by arguing that Christie’s pugnacious attitude, however appealing it is, leads him to make some dumb mistakes. This will make it difficult for him to win the “invisible primary” for donor support.
The candidates who survive the early stage of the invisible primary tend to be those who avoid making news when they don’t need to. Donors and other influential Republicans won’t want to nominate a candidate who will risk blowing a general election because of a gaffe or scandal that hits at the wrong time.
So, what to make of something like Christie having been spotted in a luxury box in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday, where he joined Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to watch the Cowboys’ 24-20 comeback win over the Detroit Lions? (Unlike certain politicians, Christie doesn’t seem to have mastered the art of rooting for a team from a swing state.) It seemed like a silly controversy until it was revealed that a company co-owned by the Cowboys was recently awarded a contract by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Whether there’s actual impropriety or just the appearance of it, it was a dumb place for Christie to be seen if he’s contemplating a presidential bid. A presidential campaign is a long and mostly dull thing, and reporters chase down the serious and silly stories alike.
Christie seems too prone to go with his gut… to act before thinking.
More importantly, Christie has appeared to be a less than loyal Republican.
Christie has not always been a team player for the GOP. His speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention seemed to go out of its way to avoid praising Romney. And Christie’s embrace of President Obama as the two toured seaside communities hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 also rankled many in the GOP.
Worse yet, Chris Christie no longer looks like a winning candidate:
The decline in Christie’s favorability has also translated into his overall numbers. In late 2012, his favorability rating was 45 percent nationally against just a 20 percent unfavorable rating, according to Huffington Post Pollster. But Christie’s popularity has waned considerably in the wake of “Bridgegate” and other controversies. Now his ratings have turned negative; he has a 33 percent favorable rating and a 43 percent unfavorable rating, according to HuffPost Pollster. His head-to-head numbers against Hillary Clinton are no longer any better than those of fellow Republicans Bush and Mike Huckabee.