Poll: Christie’s ‘Bridgegate’ Means Little to NC Republicans

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.


Early Poll Shows Paul, Clinton Favorites For 2016

RALEIGH – In a very early poll for the 2016 Presidential Election, Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling shows former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul as favorites for the ticket.

On the Democratic ticket, Sec. Clinton is a clear favorite with 52 percent of Democrats favoring her in the hypothetical primary. The only other candidate who came close is Vice President Joe Biden with 12-percent support.

In the Republican field, it is more of a dead heat, with Senator Paul leading with 16 percent. Just behind Sen. Paul are former Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, all with 13-percent support.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who had previously lead polls of potential Republican candidates for the presidency, is now at ten percent, which PPP director Tom Jensen says is a result of Sen. Rubio taking the lead on immigration reform in the Senate.

“A lot of Republican voters think that he’s been too liberal on that issue and that they don’t want to see an immigration reform package that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants,” Jensen says.

On the flip side, Jensen says that Sen. Paul’s high poll numbers and attention come from his filibuster regarding the United States’ drone policy, taking the liberal position on that issue. However, Jensen says it is important to consider who is on the other side of the drone debate.

“Even though the stance Paul was taking on drones maybe was a little more liberal, he was definitely standing in opposition to the president,” Jensen says. “And, I think, if there’s one thing that Republican voters appreciate, it’s a willingness to take on the president.”

Jensen says support for Sec. Clinton’s run for office comes from most Democratic voters wanting both then-Senator Clinton and then-Senator Obama as their presidential nominee but having to settle for just one.

“What you’re seeing now is voters saying, ‘Well, you were very loyal to President Obama, serving in his administration. After his eight years are up, we want you to be the next in line,’” Jensen says.

With the presidential election still far away and no one announcing their candidacy yet, party leaders have yet to weigh in or give their support. Jensen says Democratic leaders would likely support Sec. Clinton if she was to run, but on the Republican side, he says it’s not that simple.

“The Republican side, I think, is a total muddle,” Jensen says. “There’s lots of qualified candidates who are pretty well known and that’s going to take a while to sort itself out.”

When Democratic voters were asked to consider a Democratic nominee besides Sec. Clinton, Vice President Biden was in the lead with 34 percent, with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren following with 13 percent.


Quick Hits Around Washington

Washington, DC

– Former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, didn’t take long to cause a commotion once out of office. Her office released hillaryclintonoffice.com causing rumors predicting a 2016 run to gain further traction. The new site, launched January 30th, is undergoing further development, though it is worth noting that hillaryclinton.com now forwards to this new URL.

– New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been making the media rounds this week, appearing on David Letterman’s The Tonight Show on Monday night, drawing praise from the notoriously liberal, Letterman, for his wonderful work in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Christie, who has been critical of his own party’s leadership, has recently become a very vocal voice for bi-partisanship and is now an overwhelming favorite to be re-elected to the same office in 2013. When asked if he would run for President in 2016, Christie said that when he last polled his family, it was 6 votes to none for NOT running. He plans to re-evaluate their stance moving forward.

– The Wall Street Journal published an article on Kansas Governor, Sam Brownback, and his “Red-State Model” that he hopes will generate momentum for the party in future years. With the stable of appealing candidates is in short supply, Brownback hopes that his state’s success of slashing the budget (and taxes), weaning people off entitlements and the ensuing strong jobs record will move people to the economic right. Meanwhile, states like North Carolina are likely headed in a similar policy direction, according to Brownback.

– Barack Obama continues his dual-threat ground game this week in Minneapolis (on Monday) as he pushes for greater gun control measures. Obama was in Nevada last week to launch his immigration reform push. Both issues are hot topics in North Carolina. 41.3% of North Carolina households self-reported having a gun in 2012, while 25% of NC’s population growth in the last 20 years can be attributed to Latinos (according to the NC Governor’s office).

Have a question about what’s going on in Washington? Let us know.


Ryan Watts is a Chapel Hill native and recent UNC graduate in Political Science and Business Administration. Now living in Washington DC, he works as a Consultant. You can find him on Twitter @RyanVWatts or at his blog.

image by paul-w via flickr