No one cares about Christie’s Bridgegate

The leftwing and the media are all trying desperately to hurt Chris Christie over his so-called bridgegate but it appears no one give a toss.

A?Pew poll?from this week?found the public paid little attention to Christie’s Bridgegate?less than the polar vortex (which was, after all, truly nation-wide) or even the Washington debate over unemployment benefits and the jobless rate. Meanwhile, national opinion of the governor has barely budged.

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But will it hurt him long term?

[R]esearchers?David Doherty,?Conor M. Dowling, and?Michael G. Miller wanted to know what sort of scandals “stick.” So they administered two online surveys, creating fake representatives undergoing a sex scandal or a tax scandal. Some participants would read that the scandals (e.g., sleeping with a staffer, or income-tax evasion) were recent. Others would read they happened decades ago. The results were fairly striking: Not only did people care much more about the tax scandal overall, but also they discounted the sex scandal dramatically when it happened years in the past. As for income-tax evasion, it didn’t seem to matter if the news was new or old: It hurt favorability about the same.

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Their conclusion is that some scandals don’t tell us much about enduring character flaws, and voters are willing to overlook them. But scandals that hit closer to the duties of office are harder to forgive.

I’m not about to a make a prediction about how tens of millions of Republican voters will savor Bridgegate as a part of the stew of variables they’ll have swooshing in their heads in 2016. But if the research is instructive, it seems to me (a) that wonky political scandals, like retributive bridge-congestion, are often too esoteric for the public to consider deeply, but (b) if Christie does take a hit in the next few weeks, this is precisely the sort of character-of-office scandal that doesn’t go away over time.

Good news for Chris Christie, not so good news for Len Brown.