Is Christie Too Liberal To Win?

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 7 2015 @ 1:39pm

The New Jersey governor may jump into the 2016 race sooner rather than later:

Bush’s aggressive entrance in the race has sped up the timing of [Christie], who is preparing to make a public move toward running at the end of this month rather than waiting until February or March, according to a person familiar with discussions.

But Nate Silver doubts that Christie has a shot at the nomination, largely because “Christie takes moderate positions on the very issues where Bush notoriously deviates from the party base – such as immigration and education – along with others where Bush lands in the GOP mainstream, like on gun control”:

In late 2012, his favorability rating was 45 percent nationally against just a 20 percent unfavorable rating, according to Huffington Post Pollster. But Christie’s popularity has waned considerably in the wake of“Bridgegate” and other controversies. Now his ratings have turned negative; he has a 33 percent favorable rating and a 43 percent unfavorable rating, according to HuffPost Pollster. His head-to-head numbers against Hillary Clinton are no longer any better than those of fellow Republicans Bush and Mike Huckabee.

This isn’t catastrophic unto itself. There are lots of unpopular politicians in both parties. The head-to-head numbers don’t mean much yet, and many Republican voters would come around to Christie were he to win the nomination. But Christie’s case to Republicans is especially dependent on his perceived ability to win the general election. That’s the reward the GOP would get for putting up with the baggage Christie carries. Without it, it’s hard to see the Republicans’ rationale for choosing him.