Chris Christie was supposed to be Democrats' worst nightmare. Following his landslide re-election victory in 2013, analysts pointed to the New Jersey governor's strong performance among key Democratic constituencies like African Americans, Latinos, and moderate voters as evidence that he was the most electable of the Republican Party's prospective 2016 candidates.
One bridge scandal, a pension firestorm, and numerous legal battles later, Christie no longer looks so formidable. But not only does he offer the GOP no unique advantage against likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton; a new poll of three battleground states finds that he's the worst-performing Republican candidate against the former secretary of state.
Surveying voters in Iowa, Colorado, and Virginia, Quinnipiac University found Christie trailing Clinton by margins of between five and 10 percentage points. He comes closest in Virginia, where Clinton leads him 44 percent to 39 percent. In Colorado, Christie musters just 34 percent support against Clinton's 43 percent, while in Iowa, he lags behind Clinton by 10 points, 44 percent to 34 percent.
Quinnipiac also polled head-to-head contests between Clinton and Republicans Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, and Scott Walker. Paul performs best, virtually tying Clinton in Colorado and Virginia while trailing her by eight points in Iowa. Clinton bests Bush in Colorado and Iowa, while the two are deadlocked at 42 percent each in Virginia. Huckabee trails by margins between three and seven points, while Walker statistically ties Clinton in Colorado and trails in Iowa and Virginia.
The finding comes after Quinnipiac released surveys earlier this month of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida, three other crucial swing states. Clinton led the Republican field in those states, although, as with the latest batch of polls, she typically did not break 50 percent support. But she boasted strong leads over Christie in each state, leading him by 18 points in Florida, 13 points in Ohio, and 11 points in Pennsylvania.