Chris Christie gets golden nod for White House, with top poll numbers

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In terms of polling, N.J. Gov. Chris Christie has grabbed all the GOP love for president in 2016.

A new poll from ORC International for CNN shows that for the first time, Mr. Christie is leading in the preferential candidate list, pulling away from all other contenders by fully 7 percentage points.

That field of other candidates includes Rep. Paul Ryan — the significance being that Mr. Christie was tied with the Wisconsin lawmaker in a similar poll taken just a few weeks ago. CNN said in September, Mr. Christie held 17 percent of favor among poll respondents deciding the best GOP presidential candidate, while Mr. Ryan held 16 percent.

Other poll findings: Vice President Joseph R. Biden is the clear Democratic contender, if Hillary Clinton decides not to run.

The survey, conducted Nov. 18 through 20, using 843 adult Americans, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent points. The poll also took a sampling, by political party.

By the numbers, Mr. Christie now holds 24 percent of the hearts of Republicans and independents who lean conservative. Mr. Ryan comes in with 11 percentage points — just a bit behind Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has 13 percent. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas stands at 10 percent, and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, meanwhile, has 9 percent.

Income levels skew support for Mr. Christie quite a bit, though. For instance, among Republicans earning more than $50,000 a year, Mr. Christie fares even better — with 32 percent support, the poll found.

Conversely, support falls for the candidate, in line with incomes.

“But among Republicans who make less than $50,000 a year, Christie’s support drops 19 points, only good enough for second place behind Paul,” said CNN polling director Keating Holland.

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