New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) won reelection in a landslide last week, but he'd face a tougher challenge in the 2016 presidential race, according to an NBC News poll released Tuesday.
The next presidential election, of course, is still three years away, and there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of early polls. But the results give a sense of how Christie might fare as a national figure.
The poll found the GOP is nearly split between Christie supporters and detractors. Asked specifically whether they'd prefer to vote for Christie or another primary candidate, 32 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners chose Christie, while 31 percent opted for someone else. His support was by far the highest in the Northeast, and lowest in the South.
“Naming just Christie divides the faithful equally into Christie, Not Christie and Don’t Know,” G. Evans Witt, the CEO of pollster Princeton Survey Research, told NBC.
In contrast, 66 percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners said they'd vote for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a primary, while just 14 percent wanted someone else to win.
In a general election matchup against Clinton, Christie polled 10 points behind, taking 34 percent to her 44 percent, according to NBC. Fifteen other polls taken this year have all shown Clinton leading, although the margin varies greatly -- from just 1 point in a July poll by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, to 20 points in a March online poll by Reuters/Ipsos. HuffPost Pollster's average gives Clinton a lead of about 8 points.
For now, a more relevant question may be how Christie's ambitions will play at home. On that note, another poll released Tuesday suggests that many New Jersey residents expect Christie to run for president, and they generally don't mind.
Fifty-nine percent of voters in the state think Christie will run in 2016, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton survey, and 45 percent expect him to resign his position as governor early to run. Only 13 percent said that possibility had a negative impact on their gubernatorial vote.
The NBC poll surveyed 1,003 adults between Nov. 7 and Nov. 10. The Rutgers-Eagleton poll surveyed 804 New Jersey voters between Oct. 28 and Nov. 2. Both used live telephone calls.