New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) intense campaigning in New Hampshire seems to be paying off for his presidential campaign.
In a new survey released Thursday by Public Policy Polling, Christie jumped to fourth place in the Granite State with 10% support among likely Republican voters.
According to the poll, Christie still trails Donald Trump, who registered 27% support; Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) who garnered 13%; and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), who grabbed 11%.
But the poll also found that Christie’s favourable numbers were now higher than any other Republican candidate in the state, with 61% of likely voters reporting that they have a positive view of the governor, compared to 22% who said they had a negative view.
This put him in a stronger position than other so-called establishment candidates like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), whose favourable ratings sat at 38%.
“Chris Christie’s rise in New Hampshire is good news not just for him but possibly for the other candidates struggling to gain traction right now,” Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, said in a statement. “It shows that there’s still plenty of time for people to turn their campaigns around.”
Though Thursday’s poll is the first to find him as the most favourable candidate, Christie is undoubtedly more popular in the state than he was several months ago. A Boston Globe/Suffolk University survey taken last month found Christie with 51% favorability among likely voters in the state, and a WBUR poll taken in early November found him with 47% favorability.
Despite polling so low that he did not qualify for the fourth main-stage Republican debate — Christie failed to register 2.5% support among likely Republican voters nationally in an average of select polls — the governor has seen some bright spots in New Hampshire, where he’s reportedly made more campaign stops than any candidate aside from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina).
At the end of last week, the New Hampshire Union Leader, the most widely circulated state paper in New Hampshire, endorsed Christie. As the FiveThirtyEight website noted, the paper’s endorsement could have a real impact: Since 1980, the paper’s endorsement has coincided with at 8% bump in the polls, although that could also be attributed to other factors.
Christie’s intense focus on New Hampshire could pay off in the short-term, but he still has a steep hill to climb even if he can pull off a massive upset in the Granite State. His poll numbers are still minuscule in Iowa, the first nominating state, and South Carolina, the third state to weigh in on the primary process.
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