Stephen Reader covers politics for It's a Free Country, WNYC's interactive politics site. He joined the station in 2010 and has also worked for Studio 360, WNYC's Peabody Award-winning show about art, culture, and creativity.
Both rock stars in their own right, both trying to right their states' ships, and both building serious momentum for a potential presidential run. Every Friday, we'll look at whose week will look better on a résumé come 2016.
Check out last week's results here.
Andrew Cuomo is so freaking popular it could make you spit.
A new poll from Quinnipiac University finds Governor Cuomo with a 71 percent approval rating, the highest for any New York governor since George Pataki's post-9/11 rating of 81 percent.
It's the first time Cuomo's topped 70 percent approval, and Quinnipiac notes that there's no racial or gender gap. There's also little to no gap among religious affiliations, or Democrats and Republicans, or upstate and downstate.
"Gov. Cuomo might not be the most popular governor in the nation, but he's the most popular — Democrat or Republican — in the seven states surveyed by Quinnipiac University," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "For example, he's well-ahead of New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie's all-time best 59 - 36 percent. Cuomo tops that score among Republicans in New York State."
That says it all.
Cuomo got a lot of attention this week for announcing a revitalized New York tourism campaign, one that does away with the heart in "I ♥ NY." In the iconic logo's place will be sketches of Empire State vacation spots, solicitied from the public.
Here's an encouraging statistic: he Associated Press reports that the $5 million marketing campaign follows two years of back-to-back 8 plus percent growth in annual statewide tourism. Direct spending by tourists in New York State in 2011 was $53.8 billion, plus a few extra billion in state and local tax revenue.
All told, tourism in the state has returned to pre-recession levels since Andrew Cuomo took office.
Chris Christie just cannot get a Supreme Court Justice appointed, huh?
This week a state legislative panel rejected Governor Christie's second nominee for State Supreme Court, Bruce Harris, who would have been the first openly gay member and its third African-American in history. Democrats torpedoed Harris in a 7-6 vote that saw all Republicans voting for confirmation, and all but one Democrat voting against.
Feels like just yesterday that New Jersey Democrats were rejecting Philip Kwon, Christie's other nominee to the State Supreme Court, by the same 7-6 margin.
The New York Times notes that Christie's frustrations may stem from his 2011 decision not to renominate John Wallace, Jr., the state's only black justice and the first justice in the court's history not to be renominated. Not only was the foregone renomination unprecedented: Wallace was a Democrat with two years left before he hit the mandatory retirement age of 70, a sting not lost on the party that's now in a position to thwart Christie's nominees.
Christie can and will talk all he wants about a dysfunctional Trenton and obstinate Democrats, but this looks like a case of the Governor dishing it out better than he takes it. Compare Christie's difficulty getting Democrats to accept a Supreme Court nominee, with Cuomo's machinations to, say, get Republicans voting in favor of same-sex marriage.
The brash style and Jersey straight talk make for lots of YouTube hits, but it also makes for a lot of gridlock, apparently. Opponents will raise that specter on the national campaign trail.
A few months ago it was Bruce. This week, it was Beyonce.
Does any governor go to as many concerts as New Jersey's? Chris Christie might be trying to set a record. He went to see Beyonce perform in Atlantic City last Saturday night, and tweeted about it, as he is wont to do.
So forget everything else: how can you go to a Beyonce concert and not have the better week? Because, you know, it's Beyonce. She's delightful.