In that poll, Bush enjoys the support of 11 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning men and 11 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning women for a grand total of 11 percent support. While Christie receives 17 percent support in that poll, the vast majority of his support comes from women at 21 percent compared to just 14 percent from men.
This should shock precisely because both candidates have made education reform, an issue that women respond to, the centerpiece of their political identity. For Bush, reforming the education system is comprehensive, holistic, and inclusive. It has won him accolades from the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe and President Barack Obama. Christie, too, has reformed the education system in New Jersey in a far more confrontational fashion. His government took control of a variety of underperforming urban school districts and severely curtailed the power of New Jersey’s teachers unions, even in the face of aggressive protests. That’s precisely the kind of thing that should turn women off, even Republican women. It has not.
This indicates that both very conservative voters and moderate voters in the GOP do not regard Bush as an especially attractive candidate, at least not today. But these surveys were taken before any of the details involving the George Washington Bridge closures became national news. The only recent survey – an NBC News/Marist University poll taken from January 12 – 14 — shows Christie dropping slightly in the field of conservatives, though he still leads the pack. But that poll also shows Bush dropping from his December, 2013 plateau of 10 percent support among conservatives to just 8 percent support.