New Jersey Gov Candidate Chris Christie Leads Polls, Has Pro-Life Backing

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 27, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Jersey Gov Candidate Chris Christie Leads Polls, Has Pro-Life Backing

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 27
, 2009

Trenton, NJ ( — New Jersey is one of just a handful of states with significant elections this November and the latest polls show a candidate, Chris Christie, who is running as a pro-life advocate, leading in both the Republican primary and the potential general election matchup. There are six weeks to go before the June 2 primary contest.

A Qunnipiac University poll conducted in mid-April showed Christie, a former U.S. attorney, ahead of his closest primary competitor, pro-life former Bogota mayor Steven Lonegan, by 9 points.

Christie has a 46 percent to 37 percent advantage and assemblyman Rick Merkt placed third among Republican voters with the backing of just two percent.

Meanwhile, the poll shows Christie leading pro-abortion Gov. Jon Corzine 45 to 38 percent. The survey found Corzine’s job approval was polled at 37 percent among all registered voters surveyed and Corzine received a 54 percent disapproval rating.

A Strategic Vision poll conducted April 17-19 also found Christie taking the GOP nomination with 40 percent of the vote and Lonegan receiving 15 percent. That poll also found Christie ahead of Corzine by a 47-36 percentage point margin.

Deal Hudson, a Catholic writer, has commented on the New Jersey race and says it could give hope to pro-life advocates who are still smarting from the election of pro-abortion President Barack Obama.

"Christie’s eleven point lead over Corzine … is remarkable in the post-Obama political climate when pro-life candidates, like Christie, are supposed to be passé," he says.

"In New Jersey 42 percent of voters are Catholic, but the Republicans haven’t nominated a Catholic for governor since 1973," Hudson explains. "Whether New Jersey Catholics will rally around a candidate like Christie remains to be seen."

The last Catholic governor of New Jersey was James E. McGreevey who received a majority of the Catholic vote in spite of pro-abortion policy positions.

Hudson says that, while there has been some question about Christie’s pro-life bona fides, he is thoroughly pro-life.

"You might assume from the reputation and recent history of New Jersey politics that there must be something questionable about Christie’s pro-life position that explains his present popularity," Hudson says.

Not everyone who is pro-life is on board the Christie camp, as Lonegan campaign spokesman Rick Shaftan tells he questions Christie’s abortion position.

Shaftan points to a February quote from Christie, saying he wouldn’t take his pro-life position and "force that down people’s throats" as evidence.

Though Lonegan has questioned Christie’s commitment, Congressman Chris Smith, a New Jersey lawmaker who is a hero to the national pro-life movement, has given Christie his "seal of approval." Hudson says "for movement pro-lifers will be the end of the argument."

Christie was nominated in 2001 by President George W. Bush as the U.S. attorney general for the District of New Jersey.

Hudson says the potential general election matchup between Christie and Corzine is huge for the pro-life community.

"Another vulnerability stems from his position on life issues," Hudson explains. "Corzine made headlines a few months ago when New Jersey filed a lawsuit to force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions."

"The election of Chris Christie in 2010 would put a sudden end to all the talk about the need for Republicans to distance themselves from their pro-life constituencies," he concludes.

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