Should New Jersey’s Democratic Governor Jon Corzine win reelection next Tuesday, despite approval ratings that remain in the basement, he should be grateful his Republican opponent never considered the advice of former President Thomas E. Dewey after learning the results of the 1948 election.
Oh, whoops, I’m sorry, I forget, I was, uh, looking at the polls from that campaign and saw that Dewey had led the then-not very popular incumbent President Harry S Truman throughout the campaign, edging the Democrat by 5 points in the final pre-election poll. On Election Day, he lost by nearly that amount.
You see, the aforementioned Mr. Dewey looked at his lead in the polls and said it was good. He thought it was enough just to be the opposition to an unpopular incumbent. Wanting a change, people would surely vote for the candidate most likely to beat the Democrat. He wouldn’t need to wage an aggressive campaign.
Well, Harry Truman ran a spirited campaign. And the rest is, as they say, history. Perhaps because Mr. Dewey carried New Jersey by roughly the same margin he led in the last national poll, Corzine’s Republican opponent Chris Christie may have thought Dewey’s strategy of sitting on his lead would work in the Garden State.
The current polls, however, tell a different story, a very tight race, with some surveys giving the hapless Democrat an edge. Hapless he may be as an executive, but he’s been ruthless on the campaign trail, zinging the Republican with tens of millions of dollars of negative campaign ads. (more…)