Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, could stand a chance against Hillary Rodham Clinton should they both campaign for president in 2016, according to a new NBC poll. Of course, the next presidential election is almost 3 years away, meaning that the new poll is a very early picture of the numbers.
As in other public opinion polls, Clinton is the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic nomination. She’s the choice of 66% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning respondents versus 14% who prefer someone else. (The poll was taken Nov 7 – 10 and queried 1,003 adults. The margin of error for this poll is plus-minus 3.6 percentage points.) Of course, with the first primary more than two years away, these numbers serve as more interesting than anything else.
Even with her solid resume including serving as President Obama’s secretary of state, Clinton may face a Democratic challenger for the nomination. Among the names being bandied about is Senator Elizabeth Warren, although high-ranking Democrats state that they would not enter the race if Clinton should decide to run. The unified front of the Democrats should stir the fractured Republican party to come together and stand behind one strong candidate. Their failure to do will surely cost them come November 2016.
In New Jersey’s gubernatorial election last week, Christie won both the Hispanic and the youth vote, backing which Republicans have historically failed to garner. The negative side of winning this long sought-after vote is that many right-wingers are claiming that Christie is not conservative enough. Kentucky Tea Party Republican Scott Hofstra commented that Chris Christie is “no more conservative than Harry Reid,” the current Democratic majority leader of the Senate. On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Christie rebuffed attempts to label himself a moderate or a conservative, saying “”I don’t get into these labels. That’s the Washington, D.C. game.”
Although the NBC poll does reflect that Christie would have to overcome a 43 – 35 shortcoming among Southern voters as well as a smaller than average lead among white voters of 41 – 37, analysts believe that the lower numbers do not indicate a loss of Republican influence in the South or among whites, but rather than people do not know of him yet. As a matter of fact, Chris Christie continues the Republican trend of winning the white, senior, and rich vote, which could stand him a chance in 2016.
For his part, Christie has remained silent about a possible bid for the White House, but telltale signs of his intentions have emerged, including his refusal to commit to fully completing his new term as New Jersey governor.
Actually getting the GOP nomination will be a hard task for Christie, who received only 32% support from Republicans polled by NBC. Another 31% indicated that they would like to vote for a different Republican candidate than Christie.
Highlighting those differences that continue to divide the Republican party, Sarah Palin, former Alaskan governor, admits that she is happy that Christie has managed to win and retain the governorship of New Jersey, which is a typically Democratic state, but will not put her support behind Christie for president. “I would never put my faith and hope in any one individual politician,” Palin said. “There is no Ronald Reagan on the scene today.” Perhaps not, but with the kind of numbers that Chris Christie is putting up, he could just stand a chance.
By Jennifer Pfalz