Some new polls have New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie hovering in fourth place among potential Republican presidential candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Despite diminishing ratings in the Garden State, Christie still has a good chance of getting his party’s nomination, say political analysts such as Seton Hall political science professor Matthew Hale.
“At this point in the game, a lot of donors will be looking at those polls and going, ‘Do I really want to back someone who is in fourth place?’ and that could affect some things,” Hale said Tuesday. “But it’s a long way to go. If he can get the money to come in with a fourth-place finish, I think he’ll still be in the mix.”
But Christie, who spoke Monday to a GOP group in Concord, New Hampshire, will need to re-emphasize the message that he’s a politician who is willing to work across the aisle and who will tell voters exactly what he thinks, Hale added.
Fairleigh Dickinson political science professor Peter Woolley said Christie remains a viable candidate, even in the face of criticism that he has not solved New Jersey’s fiscal problems.
“In American politics, people are reborn all the time, and success often follows defeat,” he said. “So, yes, I think Christie can do it.”
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush may stand in Christie’s way on an uphill battle for the nomination, Hale suggested.
Christie is “not going to play as well in Iowa, and he’s not going to play as well in the southern states as many of the other candidates in the field, and if he has to go head to head with Jeb Bush, he’s going to have more difficulty raising money,” Hale said. “Jeb Bush is going to take some of the air out of the room.”
But Hale, who said Christie has good name recognition, agreed with Woolley that New Jersey’s governor is still a viable candidate.