- - Sunday, December 1, 2013



With America’s mainstream media taking the week off for the Thanksgiving holiday, the nation’s lonely and underworked pollsters stepped up to feed the beast.

Dozens of polls streamed out, covering everything from America’s eating habits (not good) to dislike of Obamacare (rising) to the direction of the country (falling) to the Republican Party’s presidential wannabes (bountiful).

Not surprisingly, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was a big winner, even if the 2016 election is three years away (Rudy Giuliani, anyone?).

CNN got all wee-weed up over its latest poll, dramatically declaring that “for the first time, there may be an early front-runner in the race” for the GOP nod. According to the poll, 24 percent of Republicans and “independents who lean towards the GOP” said they would be “likely” to support Mr. Christie. That’s a 7-point rise from a poll in September, when the governor was virtually tied with Rep. Paul Ryan.

The former veep candidate from Wisconsin dropped all the way to 11 percent, two points behind the loquacious Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky at 13 percent. Another famous filibusterer, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, barely cracked double digits, coming in at just 10 percent. The party’s Establishment wing fared even worse: Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida stood at 9 percent in the poll, with longtime Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 7 percent, and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania at 6 percent. Fork them, they’re done.

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A survey by Harper Polling found that if the election were held right this very second, Mr. Christie would defeat Hillary Rodham Clinton in Iowa, 43 percent to 38 percent; all other GOP contenders would lose. A Quinnipiac poll of Ohio found that the former secretary of state would defeat all comers (although Mr. Christie by just 1 point). In the pivotal state, the survey said she would crush former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush 50 percent to 37 percent, and Mr. Cruz 50 percent to 35 percent.

Pennsylvania, though, looked brighter for the GOP. Although a Republican hasn’t won the state in 25 years, not since George H.W. Bush dusted Michael Dukakis, next-door neighbor Mr. Christie would knock off Mrs. Clinton 48 percent to 44 percent, according to a Public Policy Polling survey. Still, she would handily beat Mr. Paul and Mr. Cruz, so, perhaps mixed results for Team R.

Meanwhile, the straw man that is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, much beloved by the media and often touted as a real contender for the Democratic nomination, pulled down just 7 percent of the CNN poll’s love — 56 points behind the MSM’s real crush, Mrs. Clinton. Even Vice President Joe Biden won more support (12 percent). Best bet: She doesn’t even run.

But President Obama got very little good news from the nation’s pollsters. A Reuters poll found just 19 percent of Americans believe the nation is “heading in the right direction” and a whopping 64 percent think the country is “off on the wrong track.” His “total approve” rating fell to 38 percent, with just 15 percent now saying they “strongly approve” (with just 28 percent of Democrats agreeing). Lame duck much?

And Obamacare? Not good. Nearly 6 in 10 oppose the president’s sweeping health care reform law, according to a CNN poll. Ouch.

Worse, America is eating, well, worse. Just 63.4 percent said they ate “healthy all day yesterday,” according to Gallup. And just 59.5 percent said they ate “five servings of fruits and vegetables at least four days per week.” Does pumpkin pie count as both?

Those two findings, more than everything else above, may point to why 2016 is Mr. Christie’s year — as does this last poll. Just 18 percent of Americans say they are at their “ideal weight.” More than half “would like” to lose some weight; just 25 are “seriously trying” — the highest gap in 11 years. And 36 percent would classify themselves as “overweight.”

Good news for Mr. Christie, seriously overweight but “seriously trying” to lose poundage. Americans love a doer, hate a quitter. And the portly politician said this month he’s “a little more than halfway” toward his goal.

He meant his weight loss, but he might just the same meant the Republican nomination in 2016.

• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times and is now editor of the Drudge Report. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @josephcurl.

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