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Corzine's (Almost) Failing Grade

New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine has reason to be unhappy, according to a new poll. Photo by Daniel Barry/Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D) received a "C-" for his performance over the first three plus years on the job in a new Monmouth University poll, the latest evidence of just how much trouble the incumbent is in as he seeks a second term this fall.

The survey asked Garden State voters to grade Corzine in six separate categories -- cost cutting, property taxes, government ethics, cost of living, schools and level of effort -- and, in no category, did Corzine score any better than a "C".

Among Democrats, Corzine's overall grade was a "C-" and among Republicans it was a "D+"; most troubling for Corzine's re-election prospects, however, is that independents, who tend to lean Democratic in New Jersey, also gave Corzine a "D+".

Those grades are identical to Corzine's performance in a February Monmouth poll, a trend (or lack thereof) that suggests that the millions the governor is spending to tout his accomplishments -- and bash former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie (R) -- on television aren't changing the way he is perceived by voters.

Lis Smith, a spokeswoman for Corzine, argued that the poll is evidence that the governor made hard but right decisions for the state. "Governor Corzine has been making the tough choices to keep New Jersey's fiscal house in order, while maintaining his commitment to protecting our children, taking care of our seniors, and providing for our most vulnerable," said Smith.

Maybe. But, there's lots more bad news for Corzine in the poll. Just more than one in ten (13 percent) of voters say that the incumbent has "major" accomplishments to point to from his first term; seven in ten believe the state government has not managed the state's finance well.

We could go on but you get the idea -- voters don't like Corzine and don't think he has done much of anything for the state.

Democrats continue to argue that the voters of New Jersey always stay undecided until the last minute -- the result of a number of factors including the state's lack of its own media market -- but ultimately side with Democrats.

And, history suggests they are right. (Heck, we wrote a post months ago making that same argument.)

But, history also shows that if voters have fully soured on a politician -- no matter the reason -- partisanship tends to take a back seat. It's why Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.) is in trouble in his re-election bid in 2010 and why people like former North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole or former California Gov. Gray Davis are on the political scrapheap.

Corzine, if this poll is to be believed, is rapidly approaching the point of no return in his campaign. While Corzine is hammering away at Christie on television for his alleged involvement in the awarding of no-bid contracts, it may not matter much.

Earlier this summer we concluded that Virginia was more likely to switch parties this fall than New Jersey. This poll -- and several others like it -- suggest we need to reverse that order.

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 21, 2009; 4:27 PM ET
Categories:  Governors  
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In NJ the state house means the governor. Everyone from NJ knows that. It's like when I say Maytag most normal people think washer. I actually have five different Maytag appliances. You just think of the main thing. No fuss no foul.

Posted by: skybride56 | July 22, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Corzine will probably get in as NJ almost always votes Democratic. Exactly what has Christie proposed that will change any thing? When we went Republican with another Christie, things went pretty sour on that deal. We got the lousy MV inspection, which from the start was a fiasco. They raided the pension fund for state employees[at the moment they busily doing a little revisionist history on that,I was there, I heard it all being played out. Now they are saying they borrowed to fund the pension. How it went was this, raid and borrow to restore the raid on the pension.], pay to play went to new heights as we paid the lawsuit bill for another republican for a sex harassment suit. Republican, I think not. I'd rather have a lousy Dem any day.

Posted by: skybride56 | July 22, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Jon Corzine has tons of personal wealth and the attacks on Cristie will likely just get nastier. Plus, Corzine has yet to announce who his Lt. Governor will be. Cristie has a genuine pick that makes his campaign a true law & Order group. Who will Corzine pick? Will it make a difference? At this point, there is no doubt Cristie is in the driver's seat in this race with about 3 1/2 months left. Corzine, his team & his money has just that long to turn it around.

CC, I'd say Virginia is still much more likely to switch parties than New Jersey. Yes, Cristie is in the driver's seat but McDonnell is the overwhelming favorite in Va. He's getting the support & money of charitable dems., even those influential in the black community. Barring some "Macaca moment", McDonnell has this election in the bag. Cristie still must win in NJ.

Posted by: reason5 | July 22, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

P.S., Let's Go Devils!!

Posted by: dognabbit | July 22, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Could Christie have done any better than Corzine with New Jersey in the Bush Economy? Who can say?

As a Democrat born and raised in New Jersey (albeit, in a Republican district), it would be hard for me to see my old home state go back to the GOP.

New Jersey prefers its Republican governors to be moderate. Tom Kean and Christine Todd Whitman were generally well-liked. So the question is whether Chris Christie is the kind of Republican that New Jerseyans can live with?

It's New Jersey. Who can say?

Posted by: dognabbit | July 22, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Corzine had better get his kit packed if his numbers don't improve!

Posted by: sverigegrabb | July 21, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

vbhoomes: look up "statehouse" in the dictionary. I have never heard the governorship referred to as "the statehouse." Nice try.

I'm proud that you can read, but believe me, you don't want to get into a pissing contest with me on that one, or education in general.

Posted by: nodebris | July 21, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Isn't he a Goldman Sachs alumni?
I think all of them should be run out of government and we need a Constitutional amendment barring them from government "service" and lobbying.

Posted by: edismae | July 21, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

vbhoomes: we should hijack some dumb thread for a book discussion, I'd love to hear more about those texts.

I'm in the middle of three physics texts right now. Entanglement and decoherence. Also when I need a break I'm reading Tolkein's "Unfinished Tales." So far it duplicates "The Children of Hurin," recently released by his son and no doubt the last Tolkein book there will ever be.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 21, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

"nodebris you are truly the biggest idiot on this blog, when you refer to the statehouse moron, it can be either the legislative or Executibe branch and seem we were talking about gubertorial races, you knew the context. "

Dude, calm down. He knows what you were talking about, but was just correcting you. Just accept the mistake and don't make it again.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 21, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

nodebris you are truly the biggest idiot on this blog, when you refer to the statehouse moron, it can be either the legislative or Executibe branch and seem we were talking about gubertorial races, you knew the context. I am currently reading the Power Broker by Historian Robert Caro and finished a book on Adolf Hitler and The Great Influenza, 1918 flu,in the last three weeks, just tell me what book you read in the last year, you uneducated pompous fool. Did you even graduate from the 8th grade?

Posted by: vbhoomes | July 21, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I think Corzine is done. People just seem to really dislike the guy.


He has a beard

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 21, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

vbhoomes wrote: "Republican retaking the NJ and VA statehouses"

There are no state senate elections this year in VA, and the GOP already controls the house, so how are Republicans going to "retake" the statehouse?

Do you mean the governor's mansion? Even that's a bit of a stretch. Blue Virginia summarizes the last few years in the Old Dominion:

"Virginia Republicans have lost both U.S. Senate seats, their House delegation majority (currently 6-5 Democratic), control of the State Senate, a large chunk of their majority in the House of Delegates, and of course the White House (with a Democratic presidential candidate carrying Virginia for the first since 1964)."

And they've lost the last two governor races, also. It's certainly not a done deal that Republicans are retaking anything in Virginia.

The rest of your post is just more gop-parrot babble. If I had a cracker, I'd offer it. That first part caught my eye, though, being particularly nonsensical.

Posted by: nodebris | July 21, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Republican retaking the NJ and VA statehouses this fall is just a small signal of the demise of the dems in 2010.


And if Corzine wins then it's just a meaningless statistic, right?

Clutch that straw like grim death.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 21, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

TO: bsimon1 @ 5:27 p.m.

That's it! The answer to the end of the rule of law in America -- ride a bicycle.

You forgot to add, "and leave your cellphone home." And check for RFID tags..

Hey -- didn't you get the memo? "IGNORE 'scrivener.' He'll only use you as his foil for yet another 'subversive' posting."

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 21, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

I think Corzine is done. People just seem to really dislike the guy. For the opposite reason, I think Virginia will probably go blue again. People seem to really love Deeds.

I know its not the most sophisticated political analysis, but I do think it will be that simple.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 21, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Some do BSIMON, they are a small minority. This debt is a bi-partisan issue in the sense that you are right about both parties being guilty. Its one of the main reasons republicans lost power. I thought it was sheer nonsensical when Bush told us we would save money by adding prescription drugs and was against that and him never vetoing hugh spending bills. But what Obama and most of the dems(not all)are doing is taking it to another level never seen before. His projected trillions in debt for the next 10 years was based on a 3.2 GDP growth next year and 4% after that. Now we know that's not going to happen, so what will the new deficit projections now be? Its an extremely selfish time we are living in if the people alive today don't give a damn about future unborn generations.

Posted by: vbhoomes | July 21, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

scrivener writes
"3,140... is the number of counties or county equivalents in the U.S. that enable the constitutionally suspect covert implantation of GPS tracking devices in or under the vehicles of American citizens..."

Scriv, old buddy, you need to get yourself a bicycle. They won't know how to hide the little tracking device on such a simple machine. Get a single speed or fixie and you'll be hip too. Lastly, the tails won't have a chance to keep up once you get familiar with the bike-friendly routes that cars can't take.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 21, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the New Jersey update. The view from New Jersey is not going to help the national Republicans. The simple fact is that Corzine is just not a likeable, fuzzy guy. He has no signature achievements, all he has are problems: he had a relationship with a union leader and gave her almost half a million for a condo and kept the emails between them secret, he had an accident and was badly banged up because he was not wearing his seatbelt, and, worst of all, he tried to sell our toll roads (New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway and Atlantic City Expressway) to foreigners and give them the right to double tolls every four years. The Republicans couldn't lose this one if they tried.

Posted by: duanelaw1 | July 21, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

"there needs to be masssive cuts in all levels of govt especially"

Problem is, nobody has the guts to do it. Here in MN Gov Pawlenty decided to sign all the spending bills then veto all the revenue bills, producing a budget shortfall. That is not fiscal responsibility. When he subsequently chose to use a process called unallotment to arbitrarily & unilaterally cut spending, he only trimmed a few programs - and deferred the real work of making up the difference to the next legislative session. In short, he wimped out when presented with a golden opportunity to show just what conservatives mean when they say they want to shrink government. I suspect that any Repub who expects to face voters again will make the same choice. They don't have the balls to make the cuts that they promise to their deluded base.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 21, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

"Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin. The Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create deposits, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again. However, take it away from them, and all the great fortunes like mine will disappear and they ought to disappear, for this would be a happier and better world to live in. But, if you wish to remain the slaves of Bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create deposits."

-- Sir Josiah Stamp - President of the Bank of England in the 1920's, and the second richest man in Britain.




That is the number of counties or county equivalents in the U.S. that enable the constitutionally suspect covert implantation of GPS tracking devices in or under the vehicles of American citizens...

...citizens unjustly "targeted" under a secretive security/military/intel "multi-agency coordinated action program" comprised of citizen vigilantes and operating with the knowledge of co-opted and complicit local and federal law enforcement...

...a de facto American Gestapo that destroys the lives and livelihoods of their "targets" by means of a prescribed protocol of "community stalking" harassment; surreptitious home entries; vandalism; slander; and, victims charge, silent assault with injury- and illness-inducing microwave and laser "directed energy weapons."

And no local or federal authorities will investigate, writing off victim complaints as "delusional" -- a Gulag tactic that has allowed this American politicide to "hide in plain sight"...


OR (if link is corrupted / disabled): RE: "GESTAPO USA" (see "stream" or "stories" list).

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 21, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Republican retaking the NJ and VA statehouses this fall is just a small signal of the demise of the dems in 2010. The public get its, we are not just broke but deeply in debt beyond belief. You cannot tax your way of this fiscal mess, there needs to be masssive cuts in all levels of govt especially medicaid/medicare. Adding people to govt public healthcare is sheer insanity. We can't afford we have now. That we will save money by spending another trillion or two is strictly for the kool-aid class.

Posted by: vbhoomes | July 21, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

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