They haven’t announced their candidacy yet, but the media is already lining up behind who has the most potential to be the Republican and Democratic candidates for president in 2016. An NBC News Poll pitted the scenario of Republican New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, against the Democratic former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
If the election were held tomorrow, the poll asked, who would you vote for, Clinton or Christie. Clinton took 44 percent of the vote, and 34 percent went to Christie. The poll charted the path to the general election as well by asking those who identified with a party who they would vote for in a primary.
Individuals who responded they were Democrats or leaned Democrat gave Clinton the majority, 66 percent. An unidentified, “other” candidate had 14 percent of respondents’ hypothetical votes. Christie did not fare as well. Roughly one-third (32 percent) of Republicans and leaning Republicans selected Christie and another third (31 percent) chose “another” Republican in the primary.
The poll was conducted between November 7 and 10. On November 10, Christie appeared on four Sunday news shows, including Fox News Sunday and NBC‘s Meet the Press. He did not announce his candidacy, saying instead that he was focused on doing his job for New Jersey, a statement that did not prevent the press from prophesying about potential candidates and races.
George Will, a conservative commentator, appeared on Fox News Sunday the same day Christie did. Will said Christie’s “great strength” was “that he can say I can flip a blue state.” Christie’s hand that feeds is a liability for him as well, according to Will. ”His weakness is his success in doing this. Because there are some people who are going to say, well, if you carry a blue state, you must be suspect. So he has to — his strength becomes a weakness, in the perversity of modern Republican arguments.”
Christie won re-election in New Jersey with 61 percent of the vote, but David Gregory on Meet the Press brought up an exit poll in New Jersey, which ”shows that you would trail Hillary Clinton even in your own state,” in a presidential election. Christie refused to take the bait, talking instead about how the election results are “a mandate to go back to work for the people of New Jersey and finish the job.”
Clinton has not firmly established her 2016 plan either, but that did not prevent Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) from endorsing her candidacy at a dinner in Iowa. ”It’s time for a woman to be president,” Schumer said, ”And so tonight, here in Iowa, and I won’t get this opportunity again, I am urging Hillary Clinton to run for president and, when she does, she will have my full and unwavering support.”
This “unwavering support” so early on by the Democratic party is “remarkable” to Washington Post writer, Harold Meyerson, a democratic socialist. Meyerson wrote on Tuesday that Clinton was benefiting from a strong party consensus, something he does not believe has historically been a part of the Democratic party. It is, after all, the same party that diverged on civil rights, Vietnam, and Iraq, Meyerson says. Meyerson sees economic positioning as the main challenge for Clinton, and one that may eventually divide the party.