More New Jersey Republicans would rather see businessman Donald Trump secure their party’s presidential nomination than Gov. Chris Christie, according to a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released Monday.
With 21 percent support, the poll found that Trump is the leading candidate among Republicans in the Garden State. Christie came in second with just 12 percent.
“Since Trump threw his hat in the ring in June, he has been all over the media and — to perhaps the shock of many — leading both state and nationwide polls,” poll assistant director Ashley Koning said. “So when we ask Republicans in the Garden State to name their top candidate, it is no wonder Trump is at the forefront of their minds. Whether it is because Trump’s name comes up most often in an unprecedentedly large Republican field, or because they share ‘The Donald’s’ views, New Jersey Republicans are looking much like Republicans everywhere — now largely abandoning their own governor for the other ‘tell-it-like-it-is’ candidate from across the river.”
The poll comes just days before the first scheduled Republican primary debate on Thursday. Fox News, which is hosting the forum, has indicated that it will select 10 debate participants based on average of recent national polls.
The majority of voters added that they believe it is likely that Christie will make the cut and a third noted that he will be one of the strongest debaters.
However, 70 percent of voters said that Christie would not make a good president and another 55 percent added that he has already missed out on his best opportunity to receive the party’s nod.
“About the only thing New Jersey voters and Gov. Christie agree on is their belief that he will make the Top 10 Thursday night,” Koning said. “New Jerseyans also respect the governor’s ability to hold his own if he does join the debate. But they remain sour about the thought of a ‘President’ Christie and don’t expect him to snag the nomination. Most share the growing belief that Christie missed his change to run for president at the height of his popularity.”
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