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.
Christy is happiest when he's licking Obama's shoes.
Well, I think this is great. If Mrs. Christie is First Lady she can do what she did for Sandy for all disasters. She starts a charity and then never gives out the money.
I'm Democrat. I'd vote for Christie. He's almost Democrat too.
I am still eagerly waiting for the Herman Cain / Rush Limbaugh ticket.
I recently heard Dr. Ben Carson speak. He is by far the smartest,most logical ,most understanding person I have ever heard
in my life and I have heard literally hundreds upon hundreds of both Republicans and Democrats speak. He would be an
outstanding leader for our country. I would vote for him no matter if he had an R or a D after his name.
One thing can be said about Christie, he speaks his mind, and tells you what he thinks. You always know where he stands, and he is good at working across the isle. He's not a continual liar like we're used to.
He's electable, the GOP will never nominate him. And, even worse, he seems to think for himself. UNFORGIVABLE in party politics these days.
And at this time in 2007 for the Dems, Sen Clinton led the pack and then-Sen Obama was among the "Others" that together totaled 5%.
How can 10% support Ted Cruz? Are they all unaware of what has happened in the last 5 years? Their own party, in it's fight against Obama, spelled out the qualification that the President MUST be born in the US or it's territories and possessions. Last time I looked, Canada did not fall in any of those categories.
Christie would be the first Reublican I've voted for since Reagan, and I would pick him over ANY other candidate.
Christie is not almost a Democrat. He is anti union, anti teacher and gives out tax breaks to the rich while raising property taxes on middle class and working class people. Just because he hasn't gone all Tea Party and embraced Obama after Sandy doesn't mean he is almost a Democrat. Look at his record closely. Research.
It was Chris Chris Christie who lobbied successfully so that Bernie Madoff would not be regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission . Madoff was able to swindle hundreds of people for tens of millions of dollars because of Christie. Christie has graveyards in his closet. They will now start to be unearthed.
Christie presents a big problem for the tea party's goal to win next pres election.
Biden as President? God help us all.
In early polling none of the "reasons" of pundits for or against mention experience. Ya know that stuff that would have got ACA correct and launched in a professional manner..
Governors been there done that that and also have a verifiable track record on which to base future probabilities.
I doubt that Christie will sign a "PAC Pledge" (for a bribe) to serve Lobbyists before America.
So he will run out of campaign funding in the first few months of the GOP Primaries. (like Huntsman)
Then billions of dollars in advertising will be spent to ram some corrupt stooge down America's throat again.
Easily bribed with sandwiches.
This is just another way liberal news outlets try to put their own spin into politics. Just like Suzy said about christe, "He's almost democrat too". As a conservative who normally votes republican, we see through his republican pretense. As for Biden even his own party did't want him on the ticket last election and he was already the vice president.
Foot in the mouth Joe, don't think so!
Poll results are moot. The GOP will NEVER nominate him. He actually managed to work with Obama, an act that most GOPers view as only slightly less severe than treason.
Good!!! The leader of the pack now is never the guy that ends up with the nomination a year from now....
we've been misled by both of these parties too many time and for far too long. i'd rather cut off my balls than vote democrat or republican ever again.
people were tired of bush's crap, so people voted for the anti-bush(obama) and what did we get? bush 2.0. seriously, this guy continued everything we hated about bush and then some. now, we are having this republican turd sandwich pushed onto us while at the same time the democrat douche bags are openly admitting that he's practically one of them. really guys? are we really gonna vote for this same thing again? if that's the case, i'm done wasting my time at the polls.
Christie has way too many skeletons in his closet and is unelectable, nationally.
Rand Paul is a zipperhead and is also unelectable, nationally.
Paul Ryan is a joke. Nobody thinks he has even the slightest chance of being elected president.
The Democrats would absolutely LOVE to see Christie nominated. That would ensure that Shrillary is voted into office. BTW, Christie is a Democrat. Another snake in the grass.
Come on guys. It is 3 years away. Stop this silliness.
Given the current policies of the Republican party who stand for everything that I am against, I could NEVER vote for any Republican in this current climate. No way. There is not enough alcohol in the liquor stores or marijuana on the streets for me to purchase and get high enough to do so. No thank you. The Dems are not perfect, but at least they share many of my views.
The republicans on the other hand appears to hate most groups in American saved for a few. Christie may be known to speak his mind and appears reasonable at times, but he is too sane to be in the Republican party. They will never let him get the nomination. They only nominate wackos with strange ideas for America.