New Jersey Governor Chris Christie holds a narrow lead among Republicans for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination, but even more GOP voters say he’s the candidate they least want to see nominated.
I am not a huge fan of presidential polling this early in the game. Once upon a time, Rudy Giuliani was the GOP’s best chance to defeat the all but inevitable Democratic nominee – Hillary Clinton – who of course, went on to lose by the unknown quantity that was Barack Obama.
Nevertheless, a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that Christie earns 21% support when Republican voters are asked whom they would vote for if the party’s primary in their state were held today. Florida Senator Marco Rubio – who was already written off a few months ago – runs a close second with 18% of the GOP vote, followed by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush at 16% and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul with 15% of the vote.
Senator Rand Paul had enjoyed a 3-point lead in a previous PPP survey two weeks ago – all previous surveys are below – but we are sure to see even more changes. Perhaps, the spat between the Christie and Paul over the NSA surveillance program had changed some minds, especially since it appeared that Rand Paul backed down. GOP voters want a fighter to take on Hillary Clinton, and after Mitt Romney capitulated to the Obama campaign after his successful Denver debate, the grassroots will not be so tempered this time around.
Congressman Paul Ryan, the unsuccessful Republican vice presidential candidate in 2012, picks up 13% of the Republican vote, with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker – a potential dark horse – was dead last at six percent (6%). As far as there being room for another candidate, just 3% prefer another candidate and 8% are still undecided. That isn’t to say another candidate could not make a successful run – i.e. Barack Obama in 2008 – but it does mean that they would really need to make a splash.
The biggest potential weakness for NJ Gov. Chris Christie is whether or not another candidate can make the case to GOP primary voters that they are a viable conservative alternative, and hold a balancing coalition together strong enough to stop a potential divide and conquer strategy. MA Gov. Mitt Romney was very successful at such a style campaign, and none of the other conservative alternatives could keep a coalition together for a long enough amount of time that allowed them to rack up some serious delegates.
However, this is all speculation and the process is a longtime out yet. We just can’t help ourselves.
2016 Republican Presidential Nomination
|Average of Polls||6/7 – 8/2||—||17.5||14.0||12.3||11.5||11.5||7.3||4.0||2.3||1.5||Christie +3.5|
|Rasmussen Reports||8/1 – 8/2||LV||21||13||15||18||16||—||6||—||—||Christie +3|
|PPP (D)||7/19 – 7/21||500 RV||13||13||16||10||13||12||—||4||2||Paul +3|
|McClatchy/Marist||7/15 – 7/18||357 RV||15||13||9||12||10||7||2||1||1||Christie +2|
|Reuters/Ipsos||6/7 – 6/11||624 A||21||17||9||6||7||3||—||2||—||Christie +4|