UPDATE: This post has been updated to reflect the latest exit poll data.
Republican Chris Christie is poised for a blowout win for re-election in New Jersey. But those looking to extrapolate out what his broad-based victory means for a potential 2016 presidential bid might want to tap the brakes.
Why? Hillary Clinton.
If today was a race between Christie and Clinton, exit polls show Christie would not carry his home state. The former secretary of state, senator, and first lady beats Christie, 48 percent to 44 percent.
That result could put a dent in Christie’s electability argument, which is what his campaign team wants tonight to be all about – that this is what winning looks like for Republicans.
“I think that what people are going to see is so unusual for what our party has created in the last couple of years that invariably people are going to draw lessons from it,” Christie said days before the election. “And I hope they do.”
The numbers should not come as much of a surprise, however. New Jersey has been reliably Democratic for presidential candidates for the past 20 years. After all, President Barack Obama carried in 2012 by 17 percentage points, 58 percent to 41 percent.
New Jersey voters also gave the Republican Party just a 39/57 percent favorability rating; Obama gets a 51 percent approval; and the Democratic Party gets a 51/46 percent favorable score.
Still, by a 51 percent to 44 percent margin New Jersey voters said they think Christie would be a good president.
The head-to-head numbers against with Christie and Clinton are similar to what has been seen in public polling. An early October Quinnipiac poll, for example, showed Clinton beating Christie nationally 49 percent to 36 percent.
That’s the closest any Republican came to Clinton in the poll.
Other early 2016 polling has showed Christie giving Republicans the best chance against Clinton in 2016 -- if they decide to run, and they have given every indication they are on course to doing just that.
But before Christie could win the right to possibly face off in a general election with Clinton, he would still have to get through what would be a contentious Republican primary.
First published November 5 2013, 5:05 PM