By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog
It’s becoming a familiar theme, Save Jerseyans. And you don’t need another lecture from me breaking-down the challenges facing Chris Christie as he attempts to score a comeback in the early days of the 2016 GOP primary race.
Here’s more data to back up what we all already know: Public Policy Polling (PPP), a partisan but relatively reliable national polling institution, dropped new results on Wednesday afternoon showing Donald Trump out in front with 16% of the vote “to 12% for Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, 11% for Mike Huckabee, 9% for Ben Carson and Marco Rubio, 7% for Rand Paul, 6% for Ted Cruz, 5% for Chris Christie, 4% for Carly Fiorina, 2% for Rick Perry, 1% each for Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Santorum, and less than 1% each for John Kasich and George Pataki.”
Trump can’t truly be said to have “front runner” status in a pack this huge and tight so far from the finish line. That being said, the numbers sure make our Managing Editor Brian McGovern look like a prophet when he pondered aloud back in 2011 whether Trump could “fill the Christie void” in the Republican base’s court of opinion.
Mike Huckabee (65%), Marco Rubio (57%) and Ben Carson (55%) all enjoy high favorability ratings and very low unfavorability numbers (e.g. only 10% don’t like Dr. Carson).
Governor Christie? Only 27% of North Carolina voters view him favorably; 41% do not, representing a worse position than where he found himself back in March before the Bridgegate bubble burst. That’s the worst showing, by the way, in the entire primary field (Jeb Bush is second-to-worst at 43/35). A national poll two weeks ago found a similar result where > 50% of polled Republicans wouldn’t consider backing the New Jerseyan.
That’s a lot of minds to change.
Remember: North Carolina’s primary is one of the earlier ones and, given its size and swing-state status in the general, it’s also among the most important. Is Trump having a moment and likely to come back to earth? Sure. And could strong debate performances and plenty of smart New Hampshire electioneering resurrect Christie ’16. Yup. Why not. The Governor’s current problems aren’t any less real for it. Hence, why he needs to slingshot into the South propelled by a Granite State comeback story – and maybe even see a few big names flame out and depart the race to make room – in order to earn a second look from GOP voters that are already writing him off.