Laura Ingraham confronts Chris Christie on his limited appeal to conservatives

posted at 4:01 pm on February 26, 2015 by Noah Rothman

Not long ago, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was the prohibitive frontrunner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Today, he increasingly looks like a longshot candidate.

According to the Real Clear Politics average of polls, Christie maintained the support of 20 percent of Republican voters nationwide as recently as December, 2013. Today, he commands the support of just over 6 percent of the Republican electorate. And the trajectory of Christie’s appeal is moving in the wrong direction from the perspective of the Garden State governor’s supporters.

“But there is no such thing as a national Republican primary,” you say. Christie supporters will find little comfort in the polls of early state primary and caucus voters, too. In Iowa, the latest Quinnipiac University poll found only 4 percent of likely caucus-goers in the Hawkeye state back a Christie candidacy. In New Hampshire, where he will have to rebound dramatically if he is to remain competitive, the latest NBC News/Marist poll found the governor netting the support of 13 percent of the state’s Republican primary voters. In that survey, he narrowly trails Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

With the wind in Team Christie’s face, the governor was quizzed by conservative radio host Laura Ingraham over his ebbing appeal to conservative voters on the stage at CPAC on Thursday.

Ingraham cited the results of a recent Public Policy Polling survey that found Christie acquiring the support of only 5 percent of Republican presidential primary voters. “How do you overcome that deficit?” she asked.

“Is the election next week?” he replied Socratically. “Everybody said there’s no way Chris Christie could win in New Jersey in 2009. And then they said, ‘Well, he won, but it was because the other guy was bad, not because he was good.’”

Christie went on to reiterate his presidential pitch, which centers on his appeal to voters in a deep blue state, not to mention his ability to secure the support of a majority of New Jersey Hispanic and women voters and 22 percent of the African-American vote in 2013. “If I decide to run for president, I’m not worried about what polls say 21 months before we’re going to elect the President of the United States,” he added with confidence.

If that sounds a lot like “the only poll that matters is the one taken on Election Day,” e.g. the universal declaration of a losing candidacy, it does to me as well. Ingraham’s question was a valid one. Christie is in trouble with conservatives, and surely has a strategy to address that self-evident impediment to his presidential prospects. What might that be? Her question went unanswered amid a charismatic flourish of dismissiveness. If Christie has a strategy to stop the bleeding, and I’d wager he does, he declined to elaborate on it.

Polls at this stage of the race most certainly do matter. They determine a candidate’s ability to fundraise and secure talent to staff a campaign. What’s more, 12 candidates are unlikely to make it onto the debate stage when the candidates face each other beginning in the early autumn. Some debate hosts are going to have to determine which candidates to cut, and they will look at public polls when they make that determination.

Oh, and as for the claim that no one thought Christie could win in New Jersey in 2009, he led his incumbent opponent in every public poll in that state taken between February and September (sometimes by double-digit margins). Only as Election Day neared did the state’s many Democratic voters begin to “come home” to Jon Corzine or to buck both parties and declare their support for the independent candidate. By the fall of that year, it had become a tight race. Anyone who said Christie couldn’t win in 2009, however, wasn’t paying close attention to the polls. In that same vein, anyone who says Christie doesn’t have a real problem with voters today is not closely watching the polls. Sometimes, the data does tell the whole story.


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With the wind in Team Christie’s face, the governor was quizzed by conservative radio host Laura Ingraham over his ebbing appeal to conservative voters on the stage at CPAC on Thursday.


Krispy Kreme stages informercial

BigGov RINO’s get damp panties!

PolAgnostic on February 26, 2015 at 4:08 PM

Christie…GO AWAY

Signed, a NJ Republican voter

timberline on February 26, 2015 at 4:08 PM

Chris Christie got all of his “buzz” because the New York – Washington media complex thinks that everything that happens inside their little bubble is The Most Important Thing Ever in this Country!

That’s why they talked about Bloomberg as a presidential candidate, that’s where Trump plays to the crowd, that’s why they still think Giuliani is a Big Deal, on and on.

Fact is, outside of the NYC metro area, nobody in the rest of the country gives a damn about New York and New Jersey, and we don’t give a damn about the blowhards that run those places, or whether they have an R or a D in front of their names.

WE DON’T LIKE THEM OUT HERE IN FLYOVER COUNTRY. WE DON’T LIKE ANY OF THEM.

So the press always inflates these people up, and then is always amazed when they shrivel on the national stage. They may be popular in their own little pond, but that’s it – anything else is just a media mirage.

Tom Servo on February 26, 2015 at 4:09 PM

Why would Republicans back Christie?

The only argument I can see is “electability” but the polls I’ve seen have Christie losing even his home state of New Jersey to Hillary.

Also, I just don’t see Christie playing well to a national audience, his New Jersey style runs many the wrong way (including me).

Also, fair or unfair, Christie is perceived as a RINO and that stink is never going to come off of him. We need a candidate the grassroots can get behind.

So a squishy moderate that enjoys stabbing conservatives in the back and will likely lose his home state? Where do I sign up?

BradTank on February 26, 2015 at 4:10 PM

Who cares?

Joseph K on February 26, 2015 at 4:12 PM

I get that Noah (who is a leftwing RINO himself) yearns for Christie to become a serious contender again.

But PLEASE stop wasting HotAir on this clown. He will never be in contention.

Norwegian on February 26, 2015 at 4:14 PM

Like much of the early polling, I just don’t have that much interest.

WisRich on February 26, 2015 at 4:15 PM

You can seduce New Jersey, or you can seduce America at large, but you can’t win over both at the same time. That’s where purple Wisconsin differs from blue New Jersey. From Wisconsin you can still win over both at the same time.

RBMN on February 26, 2015 at 4:16 PM

Christie went on to reiterate his presidential pitch, which centers on his appeal to voters in a deep blue state, not to mention his ability to secure the support of a majority of New Jersey Hispanic and women voters and 22 percent of the African-American vote in 2013. “If I decide to run for president, I’m not worried about what polls say 21 months before we’re going to elect the President of the United States,” he added with confidence.

There’s not much point in elaborating on your demographic performance in New Jersey, either.

Midas on February 26, 2015 at 4:18 PM

October 30/31, 2012. Nothing else needs to be said.

DisneyFan on February 26, 2015 at 4:19 PM

He has more appeal to me as a candidate than Crown Prince Jebbie.

Which isn’t saying much, since -9 is, in-arguably, a higher number than -10.

ConstantineXI on February 26, 2015 at 4:21 PM

Special announcement, just for Dead Pepper

Schadenfreude on February 26, 2015 at 4:21 PM

(Insert fat joke)

portlandon on February 26, 2015 at 4:21 PM

The reason the polls matter right now, CRISTie, is that you’re a known commodity. If you had little name recognition, at least you could fall back on the notion that you could go out there and win over voters. But at this point, most people know who you are and they’ve made up their minds about you. And from the numbers, what they think of you don’t sound too good.

Incidentally, that’s the same problem Jeb Bush faces with the added baggage of his last name.

Doughboy on February 26, 2015 at 4:21 PM

October 30/31, 2012. Nothing else needs to be said.

DisneyFan on February 26, 2015 at 4:19 PM

Yep, you might expect to get stabbed in the back while in New Jersey, but you don’t expect that it’ll be the Governor who does it.

RBMN on February 26, 2015 at 4:23 PM

Christie will not be running, he’s moving to Texas to root for the Cowboys along with his bud Jerry Jones. That Dallas sky box has a lot of appeal. Lawyer on Krispy!

woodhull on February 26, 2015 at 4:24 PM

Another aside: Jeb Bush supporters are busing K Street supporters to CPAC.

onlineanalyst on February 26, 2015 at 4:24 PM

Nice try krispie. 21 months from now, we will all still remember the hug you gave to your BFF….dear leader!!

elvis lives on February 26, 2015 at 4:29 PM

I’m a lifelong NJ resident who is generally happy with the job Chris has done. But, there are 3 questions I need a satisfactory answer to before I could ever support him for President because for these 3 issues I believe he stabbed his party in the back.

1) Many people believe his inviting Obama to view the devastation of superstorm Sandy and slobbering all over him for what amounted to nothing more than a photo-op was one of the death nails put into the Romney campaign. Governor, why did you do that? Obama originally tried to get his photo-op in NYC and very liberal Mayor Bloomberg would have none of it because he was rightly concerned that having a President on site at that time with all of the necessary security would hamper their recovery efforts.

2) When Jon Corzine became Governor he appointed Robert Menendez to fulfill his term in the US Senate. When Fran Lautenberg died, rather than appoint someone, you decided to have a special election resulting in saddling NJ with another life-long political liberal in Cory Booker. Why? You could have appointed someone and didn’t. In addition, you were VERY popular and up for reelection that year and could have had the special Senate election included on the general election resulting in significant coat tails against Booker but decided instead to hold a separate special election for Senate. Why? I can only assume it was to run up your win percentage for future use (you just used it with Laura).

3) You were head of the committee to elect Republican Governors in 2014. Why did you do nothing to help Rob Astorino in his bid to become NY Governor? In fact, as I see it you actually worked against him. Why?

nikophil on February 26, 2015 at 4:30 PM

Not long ago, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was the prohibitive frontrunner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

HORSE HOCKEY! I don’t think the great unwashed were ever as enamored as the media.

Cindy Munford on February 26, 2015 at 4:31 PM

Christie went on to reiterate his presidential pitch, which centers on his appeal to voters in a deep blue state,

I haven’t seen ONE poll that shows Christie beating Hillary and that goes especially in New Jersey.

02.13.15: Christie’s Approval Ratings Plummet To All-Time Low In New Rutgers-Eagleton Poll

A poll released Friday morning indicated that New Jersey residents have soured on Gov. Chris Christie, with just 37 percent of registered voters saying they think favorably of him.

The Rutgers-Eagleton poll came out as Christie was trying to build a following among national Republicans in the interest of a possible run for president in 2016. But the poll indicated that a series of less-than-flattering headlines have done a number on the number of New Jersey voters who think of Christie favorably.

A clear majority, 53 percent, thinks unfavorably of Christie for the first time, according to the poll.

“I think he’s done things that no one else could do … He made me a Democrat,” one person told CBS2’s Marcia Kramer.

Resist We Much on February 26, 2015 at 4:32 PM

“Im a pepper, hes a pepper,shes a pepper, theyre a pepper. Wouldnt you like to be a pepper too”???

elvis lives on February 26, 2015 at 4:33 PM

Nice try krispie. 21 months from now, we will all still remember the hug you gave to your BFF….dear leader!!

elvis lives on February 26, 2015 at 4:29 PM

Another 21 months and we can also bid adios to his BFF too…

I should write a song or something about that.

timberline on February 26, 2015 at 4:33 PM

Special announcement, just for Dead Pepper

Schadenfreude on February 26, 2015 at 4:21 PM

No fair! You didn’t cherrypick the polls!

Resist We Much on February 26, 2015 at 4:34 PM

HORSE HOCKEY! I don’t think the great unwashed were ever as enamored as the media.

Cindy Munford on February 26, 2015 at 4:31 PM

Is this our nice Cindy Munford? :-)

Barred on February 26, 2015 at 4:36 PM

Christie: “I got 51% of the Hispanic vote.” Yeah, that’s after Christie did a complete Rubio style flip flop on amnesty.

Oh, and Christie could say he got the global warming er “climate change” vote also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPxDnb2-aVI&info=ChristieGoesLeftOnClimateChange

anotherJoe on February 26, 2015 at 4:36 PM

Not long ago, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was the prohibitive frontrunner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

HORSE HOCKEY! I don’t think the great unwashed were ever as enamored as the media.

Cindy Munford on February 26, 2015 at 4:31 PM

HORSE FEATHERS…neither was I.

Signed, NJ Republican voter who abstained last NJ election.

timberline on February 26, 2015 at 4:37 PM

Not long ago, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was the prohibitive frontrunner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Today, he increasingly looks like a longshot candidate.

Ultimately, Christie lost out in the “pre-primary” where potential candidates campaigning for the favor of big donors try to tie up the money so that the actual primaries are just a formality. When Christie’s poll numbers tanked, GOP donors stampeded to Jeb Bush, who was seen as sort of the “default” choice.

None of the Republican leadership’s main picks – Jeb, Christie, or Rubio – are doing very well, but of the three, Jeb’s doing the best. Christie’s time to “unseat” Jeb is very short. He has until about June to destabilize Jeb, and by then I think it will be too late and he will just be another “Huntsman.”

Doomberg on February 26, 2015 at 4:43 PM

timberline on February 26, 2015 at 4:37 PM

I know he has rough sledding in that state but he has been anywhere near as productive as Gov. Walker who also had to struggle with his legislature?

Cindy Munford on February 26, 2015 at 4:49 PM

Kudos to Laura Ingraham for asking a tough question and to Gov. Christie for answering it without backing down.

I still don’t plan to vote for Chris Christie, but this is exactly the type of candidate vetting we need to see more of before we vote in the Primaries.

wren on February 26, 2015 at 4:55 PM

Why would Republicans back Christie?

The only argument I can see is “electability” but the polls I’ve seen have Christie losing even his home state of New Jersey to Hillary.

Also, I just don’t see Christie playing well to a national audience, his New Jersey style runs many the wrong way (including me).

Christie’s brash, in-your-face style plays well in NaJoisey, but he comes across as a bully in the Midwest and Florida, where Presidential elections are won or lost. You can’t expect someone to vote for you if you tell them to sit down and shut up.

As far as “electability” is concerned, Scott Walker is more conservative than Christie and has been elected twice in a blue state, and the same is true for Rick Snyder and Susana Martinez. They have been re-elected Governor because they’ve been able to convince moderate voters that their policies worked.

Steve Z on February 26, 2015 at 5:02 PM

Even the liberals can scrounge up one hundred nasty remarks about Christie at Mediaite. I don’t think he’s the force you perceive him to be, Noah.

Cindy Munford on February 26, 2015 at 5:03 PM

IMO Christie’s only possible winning strategy is to become the aggressive, take no prisoners, General Patton type politician.

A lot of Republicans voters and I suspect a lot of Democrats will be receptive to a candidate shouting “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it any more”; aggressively selling a positive future for America, and aggressively placing the blame on government that spends too much, does too little, and thumbs its nose at the taxpayers.

Christie could be that candidate (but he won’t).

pilsener on February 26, 2015 at 5:04 PM

He brags that he was re-elected easily in NJ…but that only proves he is not conservative.

Which necessarily hinders his chances in the GOP POTUS race, especially since Jeb has the RINO vote locked up.

itsnotaboutme on February 26, 2015 at 5:06 PM

That’s where purple Wisconsin differs from blue New Jersey. From Wisconsin you can still win over both at the same time.

RBMN

A republican presidential candidate hasn’t carried Wisconsin in 30 years, and only one has in 38 years. It’s not purple, lol.

xblade on February 26, 2015 at 5:07 PM

A republican presidential candidate hasn’t carried Wisconsin in 30 years, and only one has in 38 years. It’s not purple, lol.

xblade on February 26, 2015 at 5:07 PM

Does being half-red demand that the red half runs out and votes for purple? Maybe not. Give them something red to vote for.

RBMN on February 26, 2015 at 5:17 PM

HORSE HOCKEY!

Cindy Munford on February 26, 2015 at 4:31 PM

Exactly. The media got all excited by “the hug” and propped him up as something special.

Meanwhile, Walker gets results.

John the Libertarian on February 26, 2015 at 5:54 PM

xblade on February 26, 2015 at 5:07 PM

You don’t think Gov. Walker can carry his own state after being elected governor three times?

Cindy Munford on February 26, 2015 at 6:25 PM

Krispy’s time has come and gone. He was a bad breath of ‘fresh’ air when he first rumbled onto the national scene, spewing profane invective at political enemies and a leftest press. But, in-yer-face bloviating only goes so far in a country removed from Ny/NJ hardball politics. Throw in his image as a morbidly obese Yankee who wears his pants up around his ‘chest’ and one who is anti 2nd Amendment, well…

vnvet on February 26, 2015 at 8:00 PM

I think Gov. Christie was only considered a presidential frontrunner to those of you who live in the NE. Here in flyover country, a lot of us tune out immediately when a politician from the other USA shows up. Isn’t it about time we formalize this divorce?

Demonized on February 26, 2015 at 9:06 PM

He gave the political paparrazi a weekend’s worth of photo ops with Obama 3 days before a Presidential election, delaying recovery missions and playing kingmaker with a socialist. Next.

catsmeow on February 27, 2015 at 7:18 AM

Not long ago, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was the prohibitive frontrunner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

No he wasn’t. Where did you get that ridiculous idea?

dominigan on February 27, 2015 at 9:22 AM

He is totally wrong on the 2nd Amendment.

MTinMN on February 27, 2015 at 12:14 PM