Can Christie’s Presidential Run Ever Gain Momentum?
Gov. Chris Christie has been tirelessly campaigning in New Hampshire and he's a frequent flier to Iowa, but he is gaining no traction with the voters in either state. Polls and national surveys also show him floundering near 10th in the crowded field of GOP presidential candidates.
Two political experts said nothing is working for Christie right now and a strong showing in the Sept. 16 debate might not guarantee him a bump.
"He might have his day sometime in the future, but he hasn't had his day yet," said Peter Woolley, professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University. "I think dropping down out of the top 10 into the second tier would be a huge embarrassment for him."
Why is nothing working for Christie?
Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said the governor has the very same problem every other Republican candidate has, but it is an issue that is compounded for Christie.
"I think he's just gotten trumped by Donald Trump," Murray said. "I think Donald Trump has just swamped the field, but it's hurt Christie a lot more than some of the other candidates because these are the kinds of voters that he was going after - voters who were angry, upset and frustrated and want somebody who has a clear voice about taking on special interests. Somebody who can articulate what they're feeling."
Those voters who want somebody outside the political world, but more presidential than Donald Trump aren't looking to Christie, according to Murray. They're looking to candidates like Ben Carson and John Kasich.
As with the first on Aug. 6, the next debate will be split into two groups with the top 10 participating in the prime time event and the lower tier taking part in what is being called the "happy hour" debate.
Both Woolley and Murray agreed it might help Christie to perform well, but it might not.
"Christie getting a lot of attention in the debate doesn't seem to be something that's going to help even if he was the top guy in the second tier debate which is what helped Carly Fiorina the first time around," Murray said. "Voters already know him and seem to be saying, 'We took a look at you Chris Christie. We've got other candidates on the table who interest us a lot more.'"
These debates are fickle because of the number of candidates on the stage and there is more to scoring points with the voters than simply doing well, according to Woolley.
"What you do on the stage doesn't always depend on yourself, but on what other people are doing on the stage. What you get to react to or whether or not somebody else on the stage is particularly sharp or funny or hits a chord," Woolley said.