Six days ago Governor Christie proposed putting the gay marriage issue on the ballot - in the form of a Constitutional amendment -for Jersey voters to decide in November. Ever since then, Jersey democrats have been strongly criticizing the idea.

Peter Woolley, the Director of the FDU PublicMind poll, says while a majority of Jersey residents have indicated they think gay marriage is acceptable in a recent survey, the Governor and many others do not think it is, "so to push that off on a referendum is a fairly good tactic for him to say- this is something that other people will decide, not me."

Woolley says democrats -who are looking to beat Christie when he's up for reelection next year - "need to draw a bright line between themselves and the Governor - and of course they've colluded with him in many of the reforms- and the Governor has stood up happily and given them credit…the democrats really have to find a way to draw a contrast between them and the Governor and keep up the appearance that there is a great deal of difference between the two sides -this is a perfect issue on which the democrats can posture."

He says in the grand scheme of things, the democrats may not be able to get the mileage they would like to out of the whole gay marriage issue, because "while there are some people for whom that is a very important central issue, for many people it's simply not…they're just not invested in that issue in the way that they're invested in other issues, whether it's education reform or tax reform…I think the audience for this in many ways is fairly narrow, until the rhetoric really escalates and then people pay attention simply to hear the school yard spat."


Woolley adds politically speaking - with a probable reelection bid coming up next year, and possible run for the White House after that, it makes sense for the Governor to encourage Jersey lawmakers to put the gay marriage issue up for a vote in November, since "Chris Christie does have to think about a national conservative audience - even if he never runs - because he's a big star in the republican party, he's a very important fundraiser…so he's got to handle this issue in a way that doesn't - in his view - alienate a good part of his republican base."

He points out as democrats and republicans continue squabbling about this, "I suspect a lot of this…will be tuned out - as so much more bitterness and disagreement among politicians…sooner or later marriage equality will happen - it's just a matter of when and what the process is…but what the Governor wants to talk about is tax cuts and fiscal policy - that is his wheel-house - the democrats are trying to make him uncomfortable by taking him out in the realm of social policy."