Chris Christie 2016 Front-Runner?

Washington Post political reporter Bob Costa says, “Influential Republicans in early presidential primary states believe New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is poised to once again become a frontrunner for the party’s 2016 nomination.”

I doubt it.  

My organization, the Judicial Crisis Network, just commissioned a survey of likely 2016 Republican primary voters in South Carolina to see what they think about Christie and other potential candidates. 

The initial ballot test showed:

‐Mike Huckabee 14 percent

Ben Carson 14 percent

Rick Perry 9 percent

Jeb Bush 9 percent

Chris Christie 8 percent

Rand Paul 7 percent

Paul Ryan 6 percent

Ted Cruz 5 percent

Marco Rubio 5 percent

Scott Walker 3 percent

With respect to Christie’s image, the survey found that 46 percent of respondents had a favorable impression and 24 percent had an unfavorable impression.  

But that image changed dramatically when those surveyed were told about Christie’s record of nominating liberal judicial activists to the New Jersey Supreme Court. (See the video embedded below, if you’ve forgotten just how bad Christie has been when it comes to judicial selection.)  

After learning about that record, 49 percent had an unfavorable impression of Christie versus 30 percent favorable.  

Sixty-six percent of respondents were more likely to vote against Christie when informed that he broke his promise to fix his state’s liberal supreme court by appointing justices who follow the rule of law, choosing instead to nominate several liberal judicial activists.

I haven’t followed Bridgegate closely enough to know whether it will be a problem for Christie. But I can say with a high degree of certainty that conservatives have a lot to be worried about when it comes to Christie’s record on judicial nominations, and our research so far indicates that the issue is powerful enough to prevent him from being a front-runner for very long.

Carrie Severino — Carrie Severino is chief counsel and policy director to the Judicial Crisis Network.

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