Influential local Republicans in the early primary and caucus states said Gov. Chris Christie could have been a serious contender if he had decided to enter the Republican presidential race.
Seventy-six percent of those surveyed in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina said they believed Christie could defeat President Obama in the general election, with 87-percent saying that they agreed with Christie on the issues and 80-percent saying he would make a good president.
The results came as part of the weekly Huffington Post-Patch Power Outsiders poll. The poll, which surveyed 169 influential Republicans in the three states, was conducted last week, prior to Christie’s that he would not run for president.
The poll showed that Christie’s favorable views fell a bit short of what the Power Outsiders said in a previous poll about former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and identical to the poll done on Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
When asked for words to describe Christie, 57 percent of those polled used words that were clearly positive, with many choosing words that described Christie’s personality.
Mark Blumenthal, senior polling editor of The Huffington Post, wrote in his analysis of the poll that Christie would have been similar to Perry in making a strong initial impression in the presidential field and been at the front of the pack in national polls. At the same time, Blumenthal wrote that Christie would then have received a close look from the early state politicos, who wield sway in the early primary and caucus voting.
“But therein lies the rub. As Rick Perry has learned the hard way, the voters' initial reaction is just that,” Blumenthal wrote. “As with Perry, early impressions of Christie may have been fleeting. Since he has decided against running, we'll never know whether he would have risen to the challenge or, to paraphrase Republican columnist John Ellis, would have fallen ‘in the discard pile with the others.’”
To read Mark Blumenthal’s full analysis of the poll, please click here.
About The Huffington Post-Patch Power Outsiders Poll
The polls are a series of weekly surveys designed to tap the deep reporting resources of the AOL Huffington Post Media Group in the three early GOP voting states. These nonscientific samplings of Republican party leaders, elected officials and political activists in the early primary and caucus states are an attempt to cover the "invisible primary" among party insiders that typically has great influence in the presidential nomination contests. While the surveys are not representative of a larger population, they constitute an extensive and systematic effort to monitor the opinions of Republican activists and party leaders in the early voting states.
We're looking to expand our list of influential and elected members of both parties in the three early states and across the country. If you fit the criteria and would like to participate, email John.Celock@huffingtonpost.com, and we'll connect you with the appropriate Patch editor.