New Jersey Blues

Obama is facing the first serious challenge of his presidency. His polls numbers are tumbling, his health-care plan is on the rocks, and he faces the end of a honeymoon with the media and the public. If you had any doubts about the extent of his woes, you need look no further than New Jersey:

President Obama has a 56%-39% job approval rating in New Jersey, down from 61%-33% last month, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

And this is New Jersey. There are two noteworthy takeaways from this data.

First, if New Jersey, a deep-Blue state with 600,000 more Democrats than Republicans, shows this level of fall-off in Obama popularity, one can only imagine what the numbers look like in Ohio, Florida, and New Hampshire (just to pick three states with high-profile Senate or gubernatorial races in 2010).

Second, to the extent Obama can help Governor Jon Corzine in this year’s race by turning out the base of Democratic voters, he will probably hurt with independents and Republicans. He may be all Corzine has—but it isn’t nearly as much as Corzine will most likely need.

In short, if New Jersey is the best-case scenario for Obama’s political fortunes, then Obama faces some serious political challenges. New Jersey voters this November will provide an early-warning sign as to whether the election of Obama heralded a new era or only a brief spasm of liberal rule.