According to a new poll released by Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institution of Politics, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie would defeat possible rival Newark Mayor Cory Booker 53-24 in a head-to-head match-up, should Booker challenge Christie’s re-election bid.
This comes only a day after Christie filed paperwork to allow him to raise money for the 2013 race.
The poll also found that without factoring in opposing candidates, 59 percent of voters support Christie’s re-election, a dramatic increase from 44 percent who wanted a second term for the Republican in September.
Rutgers credited Christie’s handling of Hurricane Sandy for his rise in popularity, and noted significant gains among women, minorities, and even Democrats and independents.
“The combination of leadership, empathy and bipartisanship shown by the governor during the crisis impressed most people and gave the governor a strong push into the 2013 campaign,” said David Redlawsk, a Rutgers professor and director of the poll.
Redlawsk also acknowledged that unlike Christie, Booker may not have the “statewide name recognition” needed to be a serious contender for the position.
Upon announcing his intention to run for re-election, Christie emphasized that he plans to continue the massive storm recovery efforts left in the wake of the October hurricane.
“It would be wrong for me to leave now,” he said.