Beleaguered Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s ratings appear to fluctuate in spite of his many antics, but the approval ratings of another politician, New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie, may be falling even faster. Christie’s ratings are not, of course, falling for the same reasons. There have been no reports of any illegal drug usage, but just months after he seems to have recovered some of the support lost as a result of the Bridgegate scandal, another bridge scenario may cause his approval ratings to fall again. New Jersey residents may remember that Christie’s office was involved in controversy last September when the closure of two lanes of the George Washington Bridge caused a massive traffic jam right outside of Fort Lee, New Jersey.
Although an investigation cleared Christie (who claimed that he knew nothing about the closure) of any wrongdoing, many of his constituents felt that he was not being truthful. It appears that the closure, ordered by some of Christie’s top aides, was a spiteful attempt at retaliation against Fort Lee’s Mayor who declined to support Christie’s bid for reelection. David Weinstein and Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly resigned after it was revealed that Kelly sent an email informing Weinstein that it was time to cause traffic problems in Fort Lee.
Governor Christie denied having any knowledge of his staff’s activities, but based on the results of a Quinnipiac University Poll released on Aug. 7, Garden State residents are not all sure that Christie can be trusted. Of those surveyed, 47 percent believe that Christie was aware of the activities of his staff. Christie, who has not yet confirmed his intent to enter the 2016 presidential race, has cultivated a reputation as a straight-shooting, no-nonsense politician who has garnered a lot of respect for speaking his mind. There are some, however, who are unsure whether Christie’s style is that of a leader or a bully.
Unfortunately, there is another issue with a bridge, a problem that could see Christie’s approval ratings continuing to fall faster than even Rob Ford’s. This time Christie’s office is allegedly pushing to use Port Authority funds to fix the Pulaski Skyway, a rapidly deteriorating structure which connects Newark and Jersey City. While this is a commendable effort, it seems that using these particular funds would be a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) violation because the funds were collected specifically for improvements to the Lincoln Tunnel.
It seems that these funds may have already been used inappropriately. TIME Magazine’s Justin Worland reports that the bridge closed earlier this year to begin renovations using the Port Authority funds. Most would consider repairing the Pulaski Skyway a laudable effort, certainly not in the same category as using a political office to exact revenge on non-supporters. A politician like Chris Christie, however, potential 2016 presidential candidate and already plagued with suspicions of unsavory conduct, would probably want to stay clear of scandal of any sort, especially allegations that could have his approval ratings falling faster than Rob Ford’s.
By Constance Spruill