By DON GLYNN
Niagara Gazette — While the next presidential election is more than three years off, the pollsters seem to be working 24-7 to grind out results of their latest opinion surveys.
Quinnipiac, known for its accuracy in political forecasting, released findings Wednesday showing that New Jersey voters favored their Republican Gov. Christopher Christie over Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo, 54 to 36 percent. Undoubtedly Christie’s claim to the Garden State’s native son banner is a major factor in the poll.
Both governors have garnered more respect for their joint efforts in response to Super Storm Sandy. Christie has never taken himself out of the running in 2016 while Cuomo has insisted that he wants only to focus now on his job as the state chief executive,
What’s surprising about the Quinnipiac findings at this point, the New Jersey voters gave Hillary Clinton a 49 percent approval rating over Christie’s 45 percent.
In recent weeks, as you probably read, some respondents to pollsters said they were concerned that the extremely overweight Christie could prove a health risk in the Oval Office. They should know that William Howard Taft weighed more than 350 pounds and he apparently managed quite well with his daily duties. There were some changes, however, required in the White House (e.g. a larger bathtub installed).
OUT OF THE PAST: When the cardinals convene at the Vatican on March 15 to name a successor to Pope Benedict XVI it will mark the first time in 600 years that the election is being held while the predecessor is still alive.
Selecting a pontiff hasn’t always been an easy task, as Eamon Duffy, a professor of history at the University of Cambridge, notes in his recent Wall Street Journal article. In fact, for some 1,000 years, the clergy and people of Rome chose the pope.
Duffy writes that election by “acclamation” wasn’t uncommon. He cites the example of a likely candidate seized by the crowd during the previous pope’s funeral and rushed off to church to be consecrated. At least no one in those days could complain about the lack of transparency in the decision-making process.
THE INVASION: If you were shopping Monday on Military Road or elsewhere, no doubt you discovered the unusually heavy traffic volumes, even for President’s Day.
For the record, many of those backups at the traffic signals and the lines at the checkouts included Canadians celebrating “Family Day” with cross-border shopping. At one busy gas station near Niagara Falls Boulevard and Military Road, the Ontario license plates at the pumps were outnumbering the U.S. plates 4 to 1.
ON THE ROAD: The Niagara County History Center is planning a spring bus trip to Letchworth State Park on May 11. The tour will leave Lockport at 9 a.m. and depart the 14,000-acre park by 5 p.m.
The total cost including lunch at the historic Glen Iris Inn is $65 for History Center members and $70 for non-members, Additional information is available at 434-7433. A spokesman said reservations are required by May 1.
A COSTLY TOLL: A reader notes that the social networks have been jammed with comments about the Carnival Triumph, the cruise ship stranded at sea for four days. The buzz was mostly from people angry that some 4,000 passengers had been stuck aboard the vessel. Others were just relaying their sympathy or pledging to never go on another cruise. As always some even resorted to humor: “Do you know what the worst job in the world is now?” The answer: A public relations spokesman for Carnival.”
DIET TALK: Overheard in the deli at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute: “She may be a vegetarian but she’s still full of baloney” — a student sounding off between classes.Contact reporter Don Glynn at 282-2311, ext. 2246.