A Rutgers-Eagleton Poll shows that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump lead their respective parties in New Jersey. The results may well be an indication of who will serve as presidential candidates in November.
But the poll also showed that nearly half of those surveyed did not like the choice of candidates.
Among Republican voters and those leaning in that direction, Trump would get about 38 percent of the vote, as opposed to the nearest GOP challengers, Marco Rubio at 11 percent, and Ted Cruz at 10 percent.
Among all voters, Trump only has a 31 percent favorable rating, while 57 percent of likely voters have an unfavorable opinion of him. This suggests that Trump might not be able to carry New Jersey if he becomes the GOP nominee.
Democratic voters favor Clinton over Bernie Sanders for the nomination. But Clinton also has relatively high negative numbers among the general voting population, with 47 percent having an unfavorable opinion of her. Yet, Clinton apparently has strong support in the party base.
In some ways, Trump has appeal similar to Ronald Reagan among many blue collar workers, although unlike Reagan, Trump is not mainstream GOP. While many people are leaping onto his bandwagon – seeing him as an express train to the presidency – many are uncertain how well he will integrate with other Republicans if and when he becomes president.
Did Trump drive Christie out?
If Trump achieves nothing else in his run for the presidency, he managed to steal the potential nomination from Gov. Christopher Christie.
Trump outdid Christie with the same gruff approach to politics. But for many, Christie’s close association with the administration of President George W. Bush made him seem too much like a political insider, which Trump clearly is not.
Much of Trump’s attraction has been his ability to present himself as an outsider who will reform the political system, while at the same time using the GOP as a launching pad for The White House. Trump is saying things many rank-and-file Republicans are thinking, and this has made him too popular for the party to ignore.
Is Fulop doing it right?
Meanwhile, Christie has been forced to come home to an unhappy New Jersey where he must pick up where he left off as governor. Some believe Christie may have a future as the next U.S. attorney general if Trump or some other Republican wins in November.
Christie is seen by some in the state as a bit of an absentee landlord, having spent most of the last year pursuing his dream for the presidency, while back home other people ran the day-to-day operations.
This is not a mistake that Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop has made. While Fulop is putting together is coalition to back his run for governor next year, he has made a point of building a record of accomplishment in Jersey City.
By the time Fulop runs for governor, Jersey City might well be the largest city by population in the state, and a model for the new urbanization.
But some critics do say that Fulop has changed, and, like many politicians who achieve power, is no longer the rabble rouser he once was as a councilman. Questions have been raised regarding a super political action committee connected to Fulop that seems to represent this change, suggesting Fulop has begun to resort to the tried-and-true strategies of traditional politics rather than to expand on the grass roots organizing that characterized his past election campaigns.
Backstepping in Hoboken
Mayor Dawn Zimmer has put a new spin on her Washington Street redevelopment plan after some key members of the City Council balked at her original proposal.
Council members Tiffanie Fisher, Michael DeFusco, and Ruben Ramos apparently were instrumental in forcing Zimmer to take a step back from the original bike lane proposals for Washington Street after even some of her supporters vocally opposed the plan. They pushed her to provide a modified and more sensible approach. While the plan will still require drivers to back into slant parking spaces on the uptown portion of the street, cars and pedestrians will not have to worry steering around or stepping in front of bicycles in dedicated bike lanes separated by raised boundaries.
Zimmer has also offered a modified flood wall plan that might placate the waterfront residents who fear they might lose their views of the Hudson River and New York City skyline. But just like the dedicated bike lanes along Washington Street, the new walls would still impact Washington Street businesses in some areas.
The plan also would sacrifice some areas of the waterfront to protect inland sections of the city, at least in theory. Both the original and modified plan seem not to take into account regional flood studies that show Hoboken cannot halt flooding without inter-municipal help.
Yet, as the old maps clearly show, Hoboken remains an island unto itself, geographically and politically.
Al Sullivan may be reached at email@example.com.