New polling shows that should New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie enter the race for the Republican presidential nomination, he’d tie for second place with Sarah Palin. Both would trail Mitt Romney by 20 percentage points.
The PublicMind poll released by Fairleigh Dickinson University Saturday shows that Christie, who has repeatedly said he won’t run in 2012, despite pleas from party leaders and conservative pundits, would only be the first choice of about nine percent of Republican voters. Twenty-nine percent chose Romney.
Christie would also trail President Obama in a head-to-head matchup, losing 34 to 50 percent.
Christie’s entry to the race would put a dent in support for two Minnesotans: former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (whose support drops from six to three percent with Christie in the race) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (whose support drops from nine to five percent).
Dan Cassino, an FDU pollster and professor said the numbers shouldn’t be seen as the be-all and end-all. The base hasn’t solidified behind any one candidate, he said, and “so long as [Christie’s] polling well…they’ll keep on trying to pull him in.”
“The field is by no means settled,” he continued. “If Christie or Palin decides to run, it shakes up the whole group – and the leader among Republicans is still, ‘I don’t know.’”
The poll, conducted June 1-7, came at a bad time for Christie. The day before the survey’s end, news broke that Christie had used a state helicopter to travel from his son’s baseball game to the New Jersey governor’s mansion for a meeting with Republicans attempting to get him to run for the nation’s highest office. Christie has since pledged to reimburse the state $2,500, the cost of the helicopter ride.