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January 17, 2014 8:11 AM Dissecting Christie’s Latest Polling Numbers

By Mark Kleiman

Some political reporters have been parsing poll questions about whether Conegate makes people think better or worse of Gov. Soprano, and Christie’s cheerleaders are rejoicing over the results. I never know how to read those answers; it matters too much whether the X% who say they think better or worse of someone due to Y were previously for him, previously against him, or previously undecided, and the crosstab cell sizes are usually too small to say anything about that.

But this only matters because Christie was getting set for a Presidential run, and because Christie - and only Christie, in all the polls I’ve seen - was close to HRC in 2016 trial heats. In the CNN poll from December, for example, he was two points up, 48-46, with Paul Ryan down 52-44 and all the others were down by 13-21 points: e.g., Hillary 58, Jeb 37. (Quinnipiac also showed Christed doing best, though with the others not as far back.)

So: Here’s the latest from the Marist poll:

If Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie were to face off in the 2016 presidential election, Clinton would defeat Christie by double digits. Half of registered voters — 50% — would support Clinton compared with 37% for Christie. 12% are undecided. When Marist last reported this question in December, voters divided. 48% supported Clinton while 45% were behind Christie. Seven percent, at that time, were undecided.

And that, as they used to say back when newspaper copy was typed, is a

- 30 -

End of story.

Of course I still hope the cover-up breaks down, just to make Christie’s defenders look as stupid and unprincipled as they are. But in terms of Presidential politics, I’m not sure it matters. It looks to me as if the Republicans’ best chance to retake the White House in 2016 just got stuck in traffic.

Update Ooops! Ed Kilgore had this first. The way I look at it, if I’m only half a day behind Kilgore in political analysis, I’m doing OK.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]

Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the University of California Los Angeles.

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