As New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie heads to Iowa Thursday, prompting another round of talk about his presidential ambitions, he faces a 2016 obstacle maybe as daunting as the “Bridge-gate” scandal rocking his administration: A sizable number of Republican voters there dislike him.
A third of Republicans in Iowa (33 percent) and New Hampshire (31 percent) view the GOP governor negatively, according to new NBC News/Marist polls of those two states.
By contrast, half of Republicans in Iowa (50 percent) and New Hampshire (52 percent) view him positively.
Indeed, Christie’s negative numbers among Republicans in these two states are higher than all the other GOP presidential prospects the NBC/Marist poll tested:
- Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., gets a 66 percent-to-18 percent fav/unfav score in Iowa, and a 71 percent-to-15 percent rating in New Hampshire.
- Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush sits at 63 percent positive, 18 percent in Iowa; and 65 percent positive, 20 percent negative in New Hampshire.
- Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is at 57 percent positive, 13 percent negative in Iowa; and 58 percent positive, 10 percent negative in New Hampshire.
- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is at 44 percent positive, 11 percent negative in Iowa; and 50 percent positive to 7 percent negative in New Hampshire.
- And Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is at 44 percent positive, 19 percent negative in Iowa; and 50 percent positive, 14 percent negative in New Hampshire.
Conservative complaints about Christie aren’t new, and they pre-date the Bridge-gate scandal.
“Chris Christie promised to change New Jersey’s liberal Supreme Court. Five openings later, no change,” argues an advertisement running in Iowa by the group Judicial Crisis Network. “Instead a liberal Democrat for chief justice.”
Conservatives also criticized Christie’s embrace of President Barack Obama – right before the 2012 presidential election – after the damage from Hurricane Sandy.
Christie, who serves as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, will attend fundraisers for Republican Gov. Terry Branstad in Iowa on Thursday. And he heads to New Hampshire on July 31.
The NBC/Marist poll of Iowa was conducted July 7-13 of 392 Republicans, and it has a margin of error of plus-minus 4.9 percentage points.
The NBC/Marist poll of New Hampshire was conducted July 7-13 of 340 Republican voters, and it has a margin of error of plus-minus 5.3 percentage points.
First published July 16 2014, 3:30 PM
Mark Murray is the Senior Political Editor at NBC News, where he covers politics for the network, writes and edits its popular â€œFirst Readâ€ blog, and appears daily on MSNBC and Washington DCâ€™s NBC affiliate to discuss the latest political news.
... Expand Bio
He also serves as a key manager of NBCâ€™s political coverage, giving direction to the networkâ€™s reporters and producers.
Before joining NBC News in 2003, Murray spent five years as a reporter at National Journal. And he has written freelance articles published in the New York Times (Sunday op-ed page), the Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Monthly, Washingtonian magazine, and Washington City Paper.
Murray is a 1996 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin (B.A.), and he resides in Washington DC.