Bullies can be popular. Especially popular with those who have a bunch of resentments that they feel too weak or helpless to act on themselves. That's one reason Chris Cristie is popular with his constituents. Ezra Klein points out that he has a full-time cameraman who follows him around photographing all his frequent confrontations with constituents or others who might have unpopular points of view. Good put downs get posted to YouTube. It has been a very successful strategy for him.
Of course bullying some unpopular civilian is one thing, and bullying another politician by punishing tens of thousands of his constituents is another. That's why the Port Authority bridge scandal is a potential death sentence for Christie's political career.
I grew up in a neighborhood where there were no other boys my age, so my entire pre-school experience was playing with girls. This put me at a pretty big disadvantage on the school playground, and I got bullied quite a bit in my early years until one guy pushed me too far and I picked him up and threw him down. At that point we both discovered that I was bigger and stronger than him - and bigger than any of the other kids in my grade as well. It was a shock for us both, but the rather surprising thing was that all the kids who had been egging on the bully suddenly changed sides when he went down.
If there is one thing people like better than a bully, it's seeing a bully get what's coming to him.
Christie, as Ezra Klein points out, really is a bully. It's not in the least implausible that the Bridgegate (arghh!) trails lead back to him personally, and even if it doesn't, it's pretty clear who set the tone for that sort of petty bullying. Petty bullying that in this case may well be a federal crime.
I personally still really like to see a bully taken down.