A poll released by NBC/Marist on Wednesday suggests that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s hopes for a 2016 White House run may be nothing more than a pipe dream at this point. The poll was conducted in New Hampshire and Iowa, two of the earliest primary states. Among the potential GOP candidates, Christie scored, by far, the highest negative ratings. In contrast, barely half of GOP voters hold a positive view of the embattled Governor, who has had to deal with the fallout from Bridgegate and other scandals in his home state.
In New Hampshire, 31% of GOP voters have a negative view of Christie while 52% see him in a favorable light. Over in Iowa, 33% of Republicans don’t like Christie while 50% have a favorable view of him. Compared to the other candidates, Christie’s favorability ratings are lower than all but two others in these key primary states. However, the two candidates that have lower favorability ratings than Christie (Scott Walker and Ted Cruz) also have much lower negative ratings than the New Jersey Governor. Christie’s net positives are only +17% in Iowa and +21% in New Hampshire. Walker is at +33% in Iowa and +43% in New Hampshire while Cruz is +25% in Iowa and 36% is New Hampshire.
Overall, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has the highest favorability ratings of all the potential candidates. He scores a 66% favorability rating in Iowa and 71% of GOP voters in New Hampshire like him. Meanwhile, only 18% hold a negative view of him in Iowa and 15% dislike him in New Hampshire. That gives Paul net positives of +48% in Iowa and +56% in New Hampshire. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who is an ‘establishment’ candidate like Christie, also scores well among GOP voters in the two states. as he has a net positive of +45% in both states.
The fact that so many Republican voters dislike Christie blows a hole in the theory by some conservative pundits that Bridgegate is behind the Governor and that his chances in 2016 are good. Specifically, MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace and Joe Scarborough claimed on Wednesday morning that Bridgegate “isn’t that bad” for Christie and that the other ‘establishment’ candidate has serious issues of his own. Therefore, Christie will be able to persevere and has a very good shot at capturing the GOP nomination. The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein tried to bring them both back into the real world. However, they both brushed him off and sang Christie’s praises, claiming he is back.
Well, this poll shows he is not back. The reality is, he likely will never be back. The fact is that Bridgegate was more of an eye-opener than anything else. It revealed how the levels of pettiness and corruption the New Jersey Governor possesses. It also pulled the curtain back on how he really runs the state, bringing other questionable actions to the forefront. At the same time, GOP voters that already didn’t like him for not being ‘conservative’ enough have found further reasons to distance themselves from him.