The Washington Times - August 5, 2013, 09:09AM

A new poll shows that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are the “hottest” politicians in the nation, while congressional leaders from both parties receive the poorest scores.

A Quinnipiac University “thermometer” of voter attitudes toward the nation’s top political figures showed that Mr. Christie tops out the list at 53.1 degrees and that Mrs. Clinton sits second at 52.1 degrees. House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, bring up the rear with scores of 36.7 degrees and 33.8 degrees, respectively.

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“Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s score is not surprising given her lengthy political career and especially strong support among Democrats and women,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

“But Gov. Christopher Christie’s rating is impressive given that his experience — less than four years as governor — pales compared to Mrs. Clinton’ s resume. What is interesting is that only two of the 22 figures rate better than the absolute middle of the scale, not exactly a ringing endorsement of the nation’s political establishment,” Mr. Brown said.

The rankings, though, also suggest that Mr. Christie could struggle to woo GOP primary voters if he decides to run for president in 2016. He places eight on the heat check meter among Republican voters, while Rep. Paul Ryan received the best scores among the GOP electorate.

Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida place second and third among Republicans, while Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker places fourth. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky places fifth.

“Christie’s great strength is among independent voters, who give him 50.6 degrees of love, and Democrats, who give him 53.2 degrees,” Mr. Brown said. “His rating on the thermometer scale is a good indication of what may face him should he travel the 2016 campaign trail. His tougher problem may be winning the GOP nomination because in most states, only registered Republicans are able to vote in party primaries.”

“For example, Christie is much hotter than Sen. Rand Paul among all voters, but trails him by a bit among Republicans,” he said.

Here are the overall findings:

• Gov. Chris Christie — 53.1
• Former Secretary Hillary Clinton — 52.1
• Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren — 49.2
• President Obama — 47.6
• New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand — 47.6
• Texas Sen. Sen. Cruz — 46.8
• Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida — 46.5
• Vice President Joseph R. Biden — 46.2
• Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley — 45.7
• Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal — 45.2
• Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky — 44.8
• New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo — 43.9
• U.S. Rep. Peter King of New York — 43.6
• U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan — 43
• Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — 41.1
• Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania — 40.7
• Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — 40.4
• Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia — 39.4
• Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi — 38.4
• Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell — 37.5
• Republican House Speaker John Boehner — 36.7
• Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid — 33.8