(CNN) - Asked recently if Gov. Chris Christie would be more prepared for a presidential run in 2016 than he was last cycle, the New Jersey governor gave, as usual, a very frank answer.
Donors and other conservatives courted the outspoken Republican governor in the run-up to last year's presidential election. In October 2011, however, he ended speculation when he told reporters in a press conference that he was no longer considering a 2012 run.
"Now is not my time. I have a commitment to New Jersey that I simply will not abandon," Christie said. He quickly went on to support Mitt Romney, giving the former Massachusetts governor his highly-sought endorsement.
While proving to be a top surrogate throughout the presidential campaign, Christie came under fire by some on the right for giving high praise to President Barack Obama and appearing with Romney's Democratic opponent in the wake of Superstorm Sandy–just days before Election Day.
Christie's approval ratings in New Jersey have soared in the weeks since the storm destroyed large portions of the state's shoreline. The governor was in the spotlight again last week, appearing in a widely-talked about press conference where he slammed Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives for postponing a vote on federal aid money to storm victims.
The governor still seems laser-focused on storm recovery, saying he plans to make it his prime topic during his State of the State address on Tuesday.
"It erased the blackboard," he said. "Absent Sandy, the speech would be totally different. But once Sandy came, I can't imagine that there's anything else that's relevant as governor to talk about."
Up for re-election this year, Christie told the Star-Ledger he aims to not only win, but win big. While it's rare for a Republican to win statewide election in New Jersey, Christie wants to cross the 50% threshold and prove his viability in a reliable blue state.
"I'll consider that a raging success and a historic success," he said. "I'd consider that to be a real affirmation of my time in office and my vision for the future."
As for his 2016 prospects, a recent survey showed the Republican governor could enter the race with strong support. According to the CNN/ORC International Poll taken in mid-December, 59% of Republicans said they are very or somewhat likely to support Christie for the GOP nomination in 2016. The only person with higher numbers was Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney's running mate in 2012, who had support from 75% of Republicans.
Those who fell behind Ryan and Christie in the poll include Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.