BURTON, Mich. — GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy dismissed the seriousness of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s bid for the Republican nomination. But a look at early state polls shows that their campaigns have been performing comparably.
“Chris Christie doesn’t have a shot,” said Ramaswamy, speaking to the press after a campaign stop in Michigan Wednesday afternoon. “Let’s just be real.”
The slight came in response to a question about the Republican National Committee preventing Ramaswamy and Christie from debating head-to-head on Fox News. Ramaswamy said the RNC told him that if he and Christie proceeded with a segment going at each other, they’d both be banned from future debates. Ramaswamy implied he might have crossed the RNC had he viewed Christie as a legitimate competitor for the Republican ticket.
“If it were an actual candidate who had a path, yeah, maybe I would have said screw it and let’s do it,” said Ramaswamy.
Christie isn’t taking Ramaswamy’s campaign seriously either. On a segment that aired on Fox News Wednesday evening, Christie said “the idea of Ramaswamy presidency to me would be just as fraught” as the Obama and Trump presidencies were because of his lack of governing experience.
A look at Christie and Ramaswamy’s recent polling numbers suggests that on the numbers front, the 38-year-old multi-millionaire is throwing rocks from a glass mansion.
A recent USA Today/Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll from New Hampshire has Christie 2 points ahead of Ramaswamy, within the poll’s margin of error. While Christie has made the Granite State the focus of his campaign, polling from Iowa provides a different yet comparable story.
A YouGov/CBS News poll from September does show Ramaswamy outrunning Christie in Iowa by 4 points. But Ramaswamy has been crisscrossing the state for months, with his campaign claiming it has hosted more than 100 events in Iowa. Meanwhile, Christie hasn’t set foot in the state of Iowa since announcing his bid for the presidency.
The difference between Christie and Ramaswamy is within the margin of error in both polls. More importantly for each campaign, they’re both stuck in the single digits, well behind frontrunning former President Donald Trump.
Don Taylor, an 81-year-old retired tap-dancing instructor from Hersey, Michigan, attended a Ramaswamy event later on Wednesday. Taylor is intrigued by Ramaswamy but doesn’t think he has a serious shot at the nomination.
“I really like Vivek, but I’m not sure he has a chance,” said Taylor. He said he doesn’t want to waste his vote on a candidate who can’t clinch the nomination. “You know, you don’t want to throw your vote away.”