The Washington Times - February 22, 2012, 08:56AM

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is the top choice of Republicans if the party nominates its presidential candidate at a “brokered” convention this summer, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released Wednesday.

Mr. Christie is favored by 32 percent of Republicans, followed by former Govs. Sarah Palin of Alaska and Jeb Bush of Florida with 20 percent each, the poll found. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is fourth at 15 percent.


Some conservatives are contemplating a so-called brokered Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., in August, in which none of the current candidates would have gained enough delegates to win the nomination and the party delegates would be free to nominate someone not in the primary race. Respondents in the Quinnipiac poll were asked to choose a candidate who’s not in the current field. Mr. Christie has endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

The poll showed that 48 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning independent voters believe it would be bad for the party to engage in a brokered convention; 37 percent disagreed.

Nationwide, the poll found that former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum leads the GOP field with 35 percent, followed by Mr. Romney with 26 percent. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is third with 14 percent, followed by Texas Rep. Ron Paul at 11 percent.

“Sen. Rick Santorum’s lead among Republican voters and GOP-leaning independents is built on the votes of Republican men, tea party supporters and white evangelical Christians,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “Santorum is riding the momentum wave from his trifecta of victories in Missouri, Colorado and Minnesota, but so far this year momentum from one week has been a much-overhyped asset by the time the next round of voting comes along.”

In November matchups, President Obama holds a slight lead over Mr. Santorum, 47 percent to 44 percent. The president leads Mr. Romney by 2 percentage points, 46 percent to 44 percent.