RALEIGH – It looks like New Jersey’s “Bridge-gate” scandal hasn’t jammed up Governor Chris Christie’s 2016 presidential chances with North Carolina Republicans.
According to a PPP poll released Thursday, Christie remains the GOP frontrunner in North Carolina. The field of potential candidates includes Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida; Kentucky Senator Rand Paul; and Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
Seventeen percent of North Carolina Republicans say they’d vote for Christie, compared to 14 percent for Governor Bush or Senator Paul. That’s just a one-point drop in Christie’s lead over Bush a month ago.
Cruz gets 11 percent of voters, which ties him with Mitt Romney’s 2012 running mate, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan,
Florida Senator Marco Rubio is favored by nine percent of Republican voters; Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal gets five percent; former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is at four percent; and three percent of voters say they’d vote for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
In North Carolina, Christie is the only GOP contender to hold a lead over Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, at a razor-thin 43-to-42. Clinton leads Bush by two, Paul by four, and Cruz by six.
Some other interesting numbers in the PPP poll: North Carolinians hold positive feelings for both the late Martin Luther King, Jr., and Phil Robertson, the controversial “Duck Dynasty” star.
Robertson’s comments about gays and African Americans in GQ Magazine resulted in a temporary suspension from The A&E Network in December.
Sixty-six percent of people in the state have positive feelings about King, as opposed to 18 percent who do not. Forty-seven percent like Robertson, as opposed to 27 percent with negative feelings.
There’s some political division when you dig into those numbers. Democrats favor King overwhelmingly, by 82-to 8; whereas only 26 percent of them like Robertson, and 42 percent view him negatively.
North Carolina Republicans like Robertson more than King. The “Duck Dynasty” grandpa’s Republican favorability is at 68-to-13 in the survey, compared to only 44-to-35 for the slain civil rights hero.