Christie Leads All Other Potential GOP Candidates In Match-Up Against Hillary Clinton

The one Republican currently polling anywhere close to Hillary Clinton is, unfortunately for the GOP base, Chris Christie.

Christie Clinton

For the moment, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie outperforms all other potential Republican candidates for President in a head-to-head matchup against Hillary Clinton in 2016:

Voters in the battleground states of Virginia and New Hampshire say Gov. Chris Christie has the best chance among Republicans against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical race for the White House in 2016, according to two polls out today.

Clinton, a Democrat, and Christie, a Republican, are neck in neck (42 percent to 41 percent) in Virginia, a Quinnipiac Poll found. Voters also give Christie the highest marks for favorability versus unfavorability (55 percent to 19 percent), compared with Clinton (44 percent to 46 percent).

“Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is neck and neck with New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie, but the governor comes out better when voters are asked to rate the two candidates on favorability,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “The reason is that he has an unusually low unfavorability rating for someone as well-known as he has become.”

Public Policy Polling found a similar result in New Hampshire. In a matchup with Clinton, Christie trails by 4 percentage points (43 percent to 39 percent), but no other Republican poses as great a threat as the New Jersey governor does.

U.S Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas all trail Clinton by 8 to 12 percentage points.

Yet there is no clear frontrunner for the Republican nomination. Twenty percent of New Hampshire voters favor Paul and 19 percent prefer Christie, whose stock is on the rise. He garnered 14 percent of the vote in an April poll.

Obviously, these early polls don’t necessarily mean much of anything. Just ask President Giuliani and President Hillary Clinton about that. Nonetheless, they are an important measure of where actual voters in two important states stand right now. If the GOP wants to win in 2016, Virginia is one of the states it will have to flip from blue to red (others include Florida and Ohio.) Even if they win all three of those states, though, the GOP candidate would still be 4 Electoral Votes short of the 270 needed to win the election. New Hampshire, of course, has 4 Electoral Votes. So, both of these states will obviously be battlegrounds three years from now.

Notwithstanding these positive numbers in two important states, Christie’s biggest problem would be even getting to the point where he was his party’s nominee and. Right now at least, there’s a significant segment of the GOP base that opposes him because of his perceived “moderation” and the manner in which he worked with President Obama in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Perhaps some of those perceptions will change after Christie’s expected overwhelming victory in November. However, overcoming those perceptions might not be easy for him, especially in early battleground states like Iowa and South Carolina.  However, if Republicans actually want to win in November they ought to be paying attention to polls like this and asking themselves if ideological purity is worth losing yet another Presidential election.

FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. john personna says:

    Heh, of course, RINOs always lead such pools.

    Remember though, it’s better to lose for the right reasons that to win with a RINO. Only then will the country understand their folly.

  2. Pinky says:

    Over three years to go, and you already know how 46 states are going to vote in the generals. Impressive!

  3. john personna says:

    As an aside, I think a moderate Republican would have a chance in 2016 … but as long as moderate equals RINO in the base, they can’t get there.

  4. grumpy realist says:

    Ahhh, voters in Virginia and New Hampshire. Bunch of commies, all of them! They should be asking Real American Voters in places like Texas, South Carolina, and Alabama. None of these pinko, wishy-washy liberal socialists living near the coasts are to be trusted!

    Y’know, by the time the Republican Party manages to divest itself of all of the people it has accused of being RINOs they’ll be able to hold the next convention in a pup tent.

  5. gVOR08 says:

    Last two cycles we watched the Republican circus for a year, then they nominated the establishment candidate. May have something to do with establishment money. I certainly would not count Christie out for the nomination, or the election.

  6. grumpy realist says:

    @gVOR08: Oh indeed. It’s just that the journey from here to there will involve much bloodshedding, axes thrown every which way, and in general, political mayhem. This will be even more true this next election round, where I think the Tea Party is going to attempt to take over the Republican Party in its entirety. Which means the splattering of body fluids in quantities usually reserved for video games.

    Meanwhile, those of us on the liberal side will be sitting on the sidelines eating popcorn.

  7. C. Clavin says:

    Probably won’t make it out of the Republican Primary Circus.
    And if he does…we’ll just keep linking to this picture…–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/

  8. edmondo says:

    I certainly would not count Christie out for the nomination, or the election.

    As a New Jerseyan, I can assure you that Christie will not be the nominee in 2016. He’s Rudy Giuliani with bad manners and a thyroid problem.

  9. @edmondo:

    He’s Rudy Giuliani with bad manners

    I’m pretty sure the original Rudy Giuliani was Rudy Giuliani with bad manners.

  10. al-Ameda says:

    Base Republicans hate Christie – he’s pragmatic, and, even more appalling, he worked with the president to get resources and assistance from the federal government during Hurricane Sandy. He’s a disgrace to those Republicans who want to obstruct government and who oppose pragmatism.

    Basically, he’s not stupid enough to appeal to base Republicans.

  11. grumpy realist says:

    @Stormy Dragon: What really did in Giuliani was the description of him as “9-1-1 and a verb.” There was just a little too much truth in that description.

    (I really miss Steve Gillard. He was the blogger who pointed out that Giuliani had managed to make himself so hated that in any election where he was a candidate there wouldn’t be room in the air for all the axes flying at him.)

  12. grumpy realist says:

    P.S. I find it interesting that I am getting downgraded for what I would think are uncontroversial statements of fact: That this next presidential election cycle is going to have a ding-dong civil war among different axes of the Republican Party. That it’s going to be vicious and bloody. And that the Democratic Party will be on the sidelines eating popcorn relishing the sight of the Republicans tearing each other apart.

    Now you may have downgraded me because I said something you know is true and you don’t want to hear; I’m sorry about that. But that is the mindset that got the Republican Party into its present mess in the first place: if you pretend that something doesn’t exist, it will go away. Doesn’t work for cancer, and doesn’t work for bad poll results.

  13. john personna says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I can see it. Our comments were similar but “one man pup-tent” did drive it home a bit … unmercifully.

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @grumpy realist: I just down voted you again…. I don’t know why but I felt like I needed to pick up the mantle of stupidity** that whoever down voted you the first time left lying around. 😉

    ** They say, you can’t fix stupid. I say, that may well be true, but I can d@mn well kill it!

  15. JohnMcC says:

    @gVOR08:”…we watched the Republican circus for a year and they nominated the establishment candidate.”

    Well, yes. But the ‘establishment’ candidate had to wear the nominating process and the need to unify the GOP like a bad suit. Refer to Ms Palin and the 47% remarks for example.

  16. PJ says:

    As we all know this is just another poll secretly paid for by liberals and socialists and skewed to make sure that GOP primary voters will believe that only by picking the RINO will the GOP have a chance in 2016. The actual truth is that if the nominee is a true conservative the GOP will win in a landslide and tanks to his coattails the GOP will get super majorities in both chambers of Congress.

  17. gVOR08 says:

    @JohnMcC: Oh yeah. After rolling around in it for a year, a lot’s going to stick.

  18. William Wilgus says:

    If there is a just God, Hillary won’t even be on the ticket.

  19. CSK says:

    I’ve often wondered how big the “base” actually is. Not very, I suspect. These are people who believe that the Republican ticket in 2016 will be Palin/Cruz, and that it will vanquish the Democratic ticket by something like 75-25. There can’t be vast numbers of folks that delusional.

  20. joe from Lowell says:

    Republicans fell in line behind Romney in ’12, McCain in ’08, Dole in ’96, Bush in ’88 and ’92, and Ford in ’76, despite there being sexier, more base-exciting conservatives challenging them. It’s always been what they do in Presidential elections, even when they go full wingnut in Congressional primaries.