New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie reacts to a question in Trenton, N.J. on Dec. 13, 2013.
Mel Evans/AP

The Republican who could top Hillary in Iowa


A new poll is raising the reputation of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as a 2016 contender – one who might just be capable of besting Hillary Clinton in the Hawkeye State.

When pitted against Clinton in Iowa, Christie trumps the former secretary of state 45-40 among the state’s voters, according to a Quinnipiac poll, released on Tuesdaythat matched up a handful of potential candidates.

None of the candidates mentioned in the poll have actually announced presidential ambitions (though many have hinted with a heavy hand at their ambitions), but it contradicts a prominent Des Moines Register survey released on Monday, which found Christie comparatively unpopular and unliked among a group of 10 prominnent Republicans. 

The Quinnipiac poll painted Christie’s candidacy as promising, but it showed that he could struggle with women when pitted against Clinton.

Women backed Clinton 49% to 39%, while men supported Christie 51% to 30%; the Republican did have the advantage with Independents, who backed Christie 44% to 35%.

Independents have long bolstered Christie’s approval ratings and added to his base. An October poll conducted by Rutgers-Eagleton found that 68% of Independents said they approved of the job the New Jersey govenror was doing—higher than the 61% of New Jersey voters overall who said the same.

But Tuesday’s Quinnipiac poll indicated that Clinton could pull women voters away from Christie, who won re-election in November with strong support from women despite running against a female opponent. 

Christie was the only Republican capable of trumping Clinton in the Quinnipiac poll—the former New York senator and first lady also bested Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, 45% to 44%, and Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, 48% to 41%.

Even when matched up against another political dynasty, Clinton would triumph, beating former Florida Republican Gov. Jeb Bush 47% to 40%, according to the poll.

Christie was seen as favorably by the voters surveyed by Quinnipiac; 46% said they thought the governor would make a good president, compared to 30% who said the opposite. Similar to the Des Moines Register poll, Clinton’s candidacy earned ire comesurate to her enormous celebrity and support. While 53% said they thought Clinton would be a good president, 42% said they thought the opposite.

Cruz, Bush and Vice President Joe Biden also received notably negative scores on how they’d do in office, according to the poll.

Morning Joe, 12/17/13, 9:24 AM ET

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The Republican who could top Hillary in Iowa