(CNN) – Chris Christie's re-election as New Jersey governor was never in doubt.
But the big questions heading into Tuesday's gubernatorial election were how large a victory the high-profile Republican with national aspirations would capture against state Sen. Barbara Buono, his little-known Democratic challenger, and how Christie would perform with voters who tend to cast ballots for Democrats.
According to CNN exit polls of New Jersey voters, Christie was winning by high double-digits, just shy of a 20-percentage point margin over Buono.
Christie performed well with groups that normally cast ballots for Democrats. Early exit polls indicate the GOP governor grabbing 56% of the female vote, and winning all age groups other than those 18 to 29. Christie also took a fifth of the African-American vote and 51% of Latinos, a much better performance than most Republicans in recent elections.
As expected, Christie carried 94% of Republicans, according to the exit polls, but he also won nearly two-thirds of independents and three in 10 Democrats in a state where Democrats and independents made up more nearly three-quarters of Tuesday's electorate.
Christie is seriously considering a run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. The exit polls appear to bolster Christie's case that he's among the most electable of the potential GOP White House hopefuls heading into 2016.