The Continued Political Ascent of Chris Christie

Poll numbers continue to show New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie one of the most popular Repoublican governors in the nation. NBC’s First Read notes his ascent, how he’s on the same wavenlength as voters in his state — but also how voters in his state don’t want him to run for President:

*** In New Jersey, Christie is crushing his Dem opponent: In this year’s other gubernatorial contest — in New Jersey — Republican Gov. Chris Christie leads his Democratic challenger Barbara Buono by more than 30 points among registered voters, 60%-28%, according to a separate NBC/Marist poll. Strikingly, 42% of Obama voters are supporting the incumbent governor. What’s more, 69% approve of Christie’s job performance, and 82% back his handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Meanwhile, 56% of registered voters approve of President Obama’s job in the state, and 46% approve of Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) job.

*** Christie and his party, and Christie and 2016: The poll also explains why Christie is disagreeing with his national party some of the time. The GOP’s fav/unfav in the survey is 34%-59%, versus the Democratic Party’s 50%- 43% score. Yet despite Christie’s sterling numbers in this political environment, Hillary Clinton tops him in a hypothetical 2016 contest in New Jersey, 52%-41%. But Christie beats Biden by pretty much the same margin, 51%-40%. That said, 55% of registered voters in New Jersey don’t want their governor to run for president. The NBC/Marist poll of New Jersey was conducted April 28-May 2 of 1,080 registered voters, and it has margin of error of plus-minus 3.0 percentage points.

Not a bad position to be in — but the question still remains: how can he navigate himself into primary wins if he decides to run for President? Will conservative primary voters put aside their disagreements with him? Or will he move to the far right to run? That didn’t work too well for Mitt Romney.