One in three Iowa Republicans dislikes Chris Christie: poll

Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News
Yahoo News
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talks with the media at the National Governors Association convention Saturday, July 12, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Possible presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie face challenges in Iowa, a new NBC News/Marist poll finds.

One in three Iowa Republicans, 33 percent, holds a negative view of the New Jersey governor, said the poll, conducted from July 7 to 13.

Christie, who heads to Iowa Thursday, is the most negatively viewed of all the potential GOP candidates that the NBC/Marist poll tested there. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (19 percent negative), Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (18 percent negative), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (18 percent negative), Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (13 percent negative) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (11 percent negative) each polled better among Iowa Republicans. The same poll found similar results in New Hampshire, where 31 percent of GOP voters dislike Christie.

One reason for conservatives' distaste for Christie: His public embrace of President Barack Obama following Hurricane Sandy, days before the 2012 presidential election. Another: His judicial selections in New Jersey, which GOP activists have seized upon in other states, including Iowa.

“Chris Christie promised to change New Jersey’s liberal Supreme Court," reads one anti-Christie advertisement running in Iowa. "Five openings later, no change. Instead a liberal Democrat for chief justice.”

Swaying social conservatives in Iowa, the first state to hold presidential caucuses, is crucial for any potential presidential candidate. And Christie's judicial record in New Jersey could prove to be a liability.

“It will definitely be a big issue if he wants to move forward to run for president,” Bob Vander Plaats, who heads an Iowa religious conservative group called the Family Leader, told Yahoo News earlier this week. “Any presidential candidate will have that area of their experience fully dissected, and they’re going to be questioned about this. If Christie’s going to run for president, he’s going to have to address that issue.”

Clinton, meanwhile, would crush Vice President Joe Biden among Democratic voters (70 percent to 20 percent) in Iowa, where she holds an overwhelming 89 percent-to-6 percent favorable/unfavorable rating.

But in a possible general election, Clinton appears vulnerable in Iowa, the poll found.

The former secretary of state is tied with Paul (45 percent to 45 percent) in Iowa and leads Christie by one point (44 percent to 43 percent) in theoretical 2016 matchups, the survey found.

Clinton holds larger leads against Bush (46 percent to 42 percent), Rubio (49 percent to 40 percent), Cruz (49 percent to 37 percent) and Walker (50 percent to 37 percent) in Iowa.

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