Washington (CNN) – A new national poll indicates, that for the first time, there may be an early frontrunner in the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
And according to a CNN/ORC International survey, if Hillary Clinton decides against making another bid for the White House, Vice President Joe Biden would be the initial favorite to capture the Democratic nomination.
The poll, released Friday morning, indicates that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, fresh off his Garden State re-election landslide victory and widespread national media attention, jumped to the top of the pack of potential contenders for the GOP nomination.
Twenty-four percent of Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP questioned in the survey say they'd be likely to support Christie for the Republican nomination, up seven percentage points from a CNN poll in early September. Back then, Christie and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the House Budget chairman and the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, were virtually tied at the top of the GOP list, with Christie at 17% and Ryan at 16%.
But Ryan, who's stayed mostly away from the political spotlight the past few months, has dropped to 11%, putting him in third place, slightly behind Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, at 13%. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who like Paul has made multiple trips this year to the states that kick off the presidential primary and caucus calendar, like Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, stands at 10% in the survey, the only other Republican White House hopeful to get double-digit support.
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is at 9% in the poll, with longtime Texas Gov. and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry at 7%, and former two-term Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who battled eventual GOP nominee Mitt Romney deep into last year's primaries and caucuses, each at 6%.
The poll suggests a wide divide over income among Republican voters.
"Among Republicans making more than $50,000, Christie wins 32% support, 20 points higher than Cruz, Ryan, or Marco Rubio, all of whom get 12% among higher-income GOPers, and 23 points higher than Paul," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But among Republicans who make less than $50,000 a year, Christie's support drops 19 points, only good enough for second place behind Paul."
If Hillary doesn't run
The CNN poll, along with all other 2016 surveys released this year, indicates that Clinton would be the overwhelming frontrunner in the race for the Democratic nomination.
Sixty-three percent of Democrats and independents who lean towards the Democratic Party say the former secretary of state, who also served as senator from New York and first lady, would be their choice for the party's nomination, with Biden a distant second at 12%. Freshman Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a favorite of many progressives, stands at 7%, with New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo at 5% and two-term Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, another possible candidate, at 2%.
But how would the race for the Democratic nomination shape up if Clinton forgoes another run for the White House?
If that's the case, the poll suggests that 43% of Democrats would support the Vice President, with Warren at 17%, Cuomo at 15% and O'Malley at 6%.
"Always remember that polls taken at this point in the election cycle usually measure name recognition rather than predicting support at the ballot box," notes Holland. "Respondents rarely say they would vote for someone they have never heard of, and a lot of the names tested in the poll in both parties belong to politicians who do not have a national reputation."
The poll was conducted November 18-20 for CNN by ORC International, with 843 adult Americans, including 418 Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP, and 374 Democrats and independents who lean Democratic, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, with a sampling error of plus or minus five percentage points for questions just of Democrats or Republicans.
Christie for President !
Yawn. CNN love useless polls. Can't wait to see the GOBP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea potty's throats 2012 Mitt the twit style.
Oh man, I would love to see a Clinton/Biden primary, and then have one of them engage Chris Christie. This could make for some very entertaining television when you have such strong personalities debating each other.
I've been bored with politics since Clinton left office. I don't care who wins the election so long as they have an affair with Sarah Palin (or Bristol) so I can have a reason to get up in the morning.
Why does this matter? Chris Christie is just a name to the overwhelming number of Americans. They know nothing about him, his beliefs, his scandals, nothing at all. Yet, the media is happy to create a front runner scenario. This is stupid.
If Christie is the GOP nominee, Hillary will be the next president. In part because independents like me will continue to vote third party. How many times do they need to pick white males and lose before they get the hint?
Biden is a joke.
amazing!! will he survive or win with his no favorable views for israel??!!
He is not right wing enough to get nomination.
Look at the media already telling us who is going to be the GOP frontrunner. Nobody and I mean nobody with half a brain wants Christie to get the nomination. Stop controling who the front runner to be CNN.
The only real question is will the gop back Christie? Will he have to two step like Romney, and will that result the same? He is not the ideal candidate for the tea party, but he could win if he stays away from them, I think?
Well at least Christie tells it like it is, unlike the Clintons who have made a living out of spewing garbage from their mouths.
So far our choices are slim the way I see it. I don't believe that either party has a fool proof leader as of yet. Is there one??? Please stand up if there is and give all of us some hope.
Will never vote for that whale of a RINO.
Governor Christie might be the front runner in this poll, but even if he decides to run there's no way the GOP will back him.
He's too much of an Independent Reactionary Responder for them....No way would he respond to any kind of minder/handler that the GOP tried to dictate to him.
America needs fresh modern blood fro their political agenda...Don't run Hillary! You are too ill to last 4 years under pressure!
Can someone please share the policial successes that entitle this man to be early front runner? Seems like the GOP is so smitten with any non-Teabagger that doesn't alienate moderates or Independents they'd back a ham sandwich if needed
Republicans who make less than $50,000 a year, Christie's support drops 19 points, only good enough for second place behind Paul."
Rand Paul / Rick Perry 2016
Great minds persevere !
Finally, I see the problem with the GOP. They are no longer Conservatives. Like the Democrats they have been taken over by the socialist liberals. How else can you explain ANY member of the GOP favoring Christie. I guess it's time to formally join the Tea Party. They are the only true Conservatives, true Americans, left now.
So did the flake, sanatorium and so many others in 2012 and they too disappeared. Be a bit harder for this bully but he's not presidential material.
If Biden gets the endorsement then Christie will be our President no question. I am ok with that. I love Hillary and think she is a politician with heart, class, care, and compassion. She is a stand-up person and leader. Her 8 years in the White House were some of the best our Country has seen. I have the utmost respect for her and value her as part of our Government. It is time for a new generation of leaders to take control of this country and I hope she will choose to not run and let a person like Christie who is more connected to the people have a go at the White House. Christie 2016!!!
Lee hops so. Really a RINO. Or a moderate/progressive Republican.
First normal republican with good sense I've seen since Gerald Ford.
Chris Christie is the best for ever.He is very straight forward and forward thinking.We want him to be the next President..
No matter what this guy will never win his own state next time, let alone USA. GOP is pretty much gone to dogs for fifty years or so.
After 8 years of Chicago-style politics, you want to now bring in New Jersey style? No way.
Ride that Giuliani wave to the first primary in Iowa, governor, then on to SC, then home to NJ, where you can sit 2016 out.
Interested to see how Jerry Brown would poll. They should include him vs. Clinton.