I’m the last person in the world who would suggest that we shouldn’t discuss Election 2016 despite the fact that it’s two years away, Save Jerseyans.
That’s a lifetime in politics.
Consider today’s CNN Poll showing Chris Christie leading a crowded hypothetical primary field with 24% of the vote, 11-points up on his closest rival (Rand Paul at 13%).
But where was CNN’s polling at this point in the extended 2012 cycle? A late October 2009 poll (taken immediately before Governor Christie’s first New Jersey statewide election) is funny with the benefit of hindsight:
“In a very early look at the next race for the White House, the survey indicates that nearly one in three Republican voters, 32 percent, say they would be most likely to support former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in a hypothetical battle for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, with Palin seven points back at 25 percent, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 21 percent. Five percent said they would back Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, with one in ten suggesting they would support some one else.”
Neither Huckabee nor Palin even entered the race, and Mitt Romney went on to win several key primaries (and the nomination) with hard-fought plurality margins. The rest of the history is a matter of public record.
Suffice it to say, at that point last time around, the ultimate outcome of the GOP primary was anyone’s guess. Who know where we’ll be next fall yet alone fall 2015. I’m not trying to make a grand point about the Governor’s chances, folks; you know how I feel about maintaining perspective!