If he wins re-election by a convincing margin, Mr. Christie will solidify his case that he should be part of any 2016 presidential conversations.
“There is no gender gap in our polls, there is a good chance he will win Hispanics and he will get a good chunk of African-Americans,” Mr. Murray said. “This is exactly the kind of candidate that Republican leadership is looking for in a party that can’t survive on white men alone.”
Still to be seen, however, is whether Republican voters in early primary and caucus states take to the tough-talking governor.
Some Republican leaders were critical last year of Mr. Christie, who was an early supporter of Mr. Romney but who focused on Sandy recovery in the final days of the election and gave a warm welcome to Mr. Obama.
Seeking to do damage control, Mr. Christie this weekend denied that he hugged the president and told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the two men exchanged a normal handshake.
Mr. Christie also angered some congressional Republicans when he demanded that they quickly approve tens of billions of dollars in federal taxpayer aid for the regions affected by the storm.
Charlie Gerow, CEO of Pennsylvania-based Quantum Communications, said Mr. Christie’s positive features will attract Republican voters “because ultimately Republicans want to win 2016.”
“The conventional wisdom is that the Christie act won’t play well with Republican primary voters and won’t play well in early primary states. But I think the interest in taking the White House after the last eight years will outweigh that,” Mr. Gerow said.