Why Are Christie’s Poll Numbers Lower Among George Washington Bridge Users?

Proof again: People make political judgments based on immediate experience.

The George Washington Bridge, connecting New York City and Fort Lee, N.J.
National Journal
Brian Resnick
Jan. 22, 2014, 9:52 a.m.

Here’s a truth: People have a hard time think­ing of things — or tend not to — bey­ond their im­me­di­ate ex­per­i­ence. We’ve seen this re­cently, as the po­lar vor­tex has em­boldened cli­mate-change skep­tics to con­veni­ently dis­reg­ard tem­per­at­ures for any place that isn’t their back­yard.

Here’s an­oth­er ex­ample of that: In the wake of the re­cent scan­dal sur­round Chris Christie, New Jer­sey­ans who use the George Wash­ing­ton Bridge have been more crit­ic­al of the gov­ernor, as the res­ults of a re­cent Rut­gers Uni­versity poll show. Rut­gers ex­plains:

Christie’s rat­ings are no­tice­ably lower among those who travel across the George Wash­ing­ton Bridge at least once a week, at 37 per­cent fa­vor­able. Those who use the bridge less of­ten are more pos­it­ive, with 45 per­cent fa­vor­able, com­pared to 51 per­cent fa­vor­able among voters who nev­er use the bridge. His job ap­prov­al fol­lows a sim­il­ar pat­tern for these com­muters.

We might like to think, as voters and free-think­ing cit­izens, that we can make ob­ject­ive eval­u­ations. Why should it be that there is a dif­fer­ence between those who cross the bridge and those who don’t? The gov­ernor’s ac­tions (or lack there­of) are the same in either case. It’s fur­ther evid­ence of the no­tion that the “ra­tion­al voter” is a myth.

(Rut­gers)Any dis­tinc­tion between bridge users and non-users, though, may not mat­ter when you go for the aer­i­al view. Ac­cord­ing to the Rut­gers poll, Christie has all but erased his mo­ment­ously good 2013 in the eyes of New Jer­sey­ans.

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