Christie Tops CNN Poll… Sort Of

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Governor Chris Christie stumping in Iowa during Election 2012.
Governor Chris Christie stumping in Iowa during Election 2012.

Another new poll (this one from CNN) dropped Tuesday showing Chris Christie leading the GP 2016 hypothetical primary pack by 1-point, Save Jerseyans. The other “top” contenders – Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee – are tied at 12%.

I’m starting to loathe these polls for a few different reasons (no offense intended, CNN, ’cause you’re hardly the only offenders).

For starters, in a crowded primary, the state-by-state primary/caucus polls are what matters.

Chris Christie doesn’t do half as well in Iowa as he does in New Hampshire; national polls don’t tell us anything about the complex dynamics associated with riding momentum (or fighting gravity) as the candidates float between battlegrounds. Fundraising numbers? To an extent. Polling at this point isn’t helpful unless one or another contender opens a commanding lead.

Secondly, when the race is consistently this tight and low — by “low,” I mean no single candidate has more than a token level of support, in the teens as is the case here — then the question of who is “leading” the field doesn’t, again, really tell us much. If Chris Christie is 1-point up with 23% or 33%? Sure, he’s got a solid base. Right now, it’d be much more help to ask something like this:

“Upon evaluating the following hypothetical field of candidates, tell us which ones you would never support in a primary.”


“If your preferred candidate dropped out tomorrow, tell us who would be your second choice.”

You get the idea. It’d be a quick way to find out how many Tea Party-ish Cruz supporters, if any, would back Chris Christie or how many Bush backers would pull the lever or push the button for the libertarian Rand Paul.

Not everyone on that CNN list will make it to the ballot in Iowa and New Hampshire. Obviously. With that in mind, poll results telling us, for argument’s sake, that 78% of New Hampshire voters would consider supporting Chris Christie, while only 33% of Iowa caucus voters feel the same way, would be much more informative at this juncture. I think it’d also be a better news story which, at the end of the day, is what these polls are designed to accomplish: ratings ‘n’ traffic. Just sayin’…


4 thoughts on “Christie Tops CNN Poll… Sort Of

  1. The “who would you never support?” Poll is a really good idea. Most people probably have it narrowed down to a few candidates they like and have certainly crossed a few options off the list.

  2. On balance, I agree with James, but really It’s too early for any poll to mean anything

  3. Christie could maybe win New Hampshire, but he won’t win any of the other early primary states. Many of these people who are polled don’t follow politics closely and he is a familiar face who they like. However, his record stinks and he really doesn’t stand strongly for anything. Once a campaign starts he will be crushed in ads by facts about his record. The Establishment Rino Republicans will maybe back him, but the base of the party hates him. Look at Ford, Dole, McCain, George HW Bush reelection, Romney. Rinos don’t connect because they stand for nothing. We need someone who can paint a bold inspiring vision for America. Reagan was called an extremist, and even primaries the sitting Republican president in 1976. He went on to win a historic landslide and in reelection he won 49 states and 525 electoral votes. A moderate Republican like Christie or Jeb Bush will lose badly to Hillary.

  4. Delaney Hall And Logan Hall Halfway House issue will surface ….a well kept secret from the public….. The Federal & State Auditors should be investigating this matter….

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