Christie Trails Clinton and Bush in Hypothetical Race, Poll Shows
Voters in Iowa and New Hampshire are not looking to New Jersey for guidance in their GOP presidential primaries, but they could notice a poll released Wednesday by Monmouth University. The survey reveals that for the first time, Gov. Chris Christie is not the Republican leader among Garden Staters in a hypothetical race.
In a potential head-to-head match-up with Hillary Clinton, Christie trails 53 percent to 30 percent among registered voters. Overall, more Jersey voters think Jeb Bush (42 percent) would make a better president than Christie (27 percent) and more feel Scott Walker (34 percent) would make a better president than Christie (24 percent).
"This is a decline for Christie. Just three months ago he was tied with Bush on this question. He also led Walker just three months ago," said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute. "The message from New Jersey voters seems to be as simple as ABC - anybody but Christie."
When Republicans are broken out, they still give Christie an advantage over Bush (47 percent-34 percent), but GOP voters now prefer Walker over Christie by a margin of 44 percent-30 percent. Three months ago, Jersey's governor had a 21 point lead over Wisconsin's governor (51 percent- to 30 percent).
"A majority of Republicans, 54 percent, now say that Chris Christie does not have the right temperament to lead the country," Murray explained. "The same number of Republicans also thinks that Christie is more concerned with his own political future than he is in governing the state."
Voters in early primary states don't much care what New Jersey residents think of their own governor Murray said, but it could hurt Christie's presidential prospects if his base turns on him in his home state.
"If the governor is losing support among his own republicans here in New Jersey, guys who should be behind him, then you can expect that there's going to be a deterioration of support across the country," he said.
Overall findings included:
- 1-in-4 gave Christie a decent chance at winning the GOP nomination in 2016;
- 4-in-10 felt there is no way he will win his party's nomination;
- 18 percent said he could win the nomination but not the White House;
- 7-in-10 overall think Christie does not have the temperament to be president and this included majorities of Democrats, Independents and Republicans. Three months ago, 66 percent said he did have what it takes to lead the country.
The poll also revealed many New Jersey residents now think Christie is hurting the state's image. Those numbers included:
- 47 percent who said that their governor actually hurts New Jersey's image;
- 17 percent who said he helps the state's image;
- 33 percent who said Christie has no impact on how New Jersey is seen by other Americans
The poll was conducted by telephone with 500 New Jersey adults, including 441 registered voters, from May 1 to 3, 2015. The total sample has a margin of error of + 4.4 percent and the registered voter sample has a margin of error of + 4.7 percent.