At the core of Christie's problem is that his calling card—his appeal outside the Republican base—is vanishing.
More Democrats now view Christie unfavorably than favorably, with independents divided. Republicans, meanwhile, have a lukewarm opinion, with 43 percent viewing him favorably and 33 percent unfavorably. Overall, 35 percent of Americans see him favorably and 40 percent unfavorably.It would be bad enough for Christie if he'd merely lost his appeal to Democrats and independents, but the fact that the GOP base remains lukewarm on him is especially bad news. If there's any sort of silver lining it's that among Republicans, he's clinging to third place for the 2016 nomination with 12 percent support, trailing Paul Ryan (20 percent) and Jeb Bush (18 percent). Nonetheless, there isn't much separating him from Ted Cruz (12 percent), Rand Paul (11 percent), or Marco Rubio (10 percent).
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton remains in a commanding position, leading a Democratic primary with 73 percent compared with 12 percent for Vice President Joe Biden and 8 percent for Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Back to Christie, it's worth remembering that this new poll isn't an outlier. In the past two weeks alone:
- NBC released a poll showing New Jersey Christie losing by 13 points to Hillary Clinton, a drop of 10 points in just one month
- The Rutgers-Eagleton Poll showed Christie's net favorability rating in his home state had fallen by 25 points from November
- And yet another NBC poll (this one conducted with The Wall Street Journal) showed Christie's net favorability rating dropping 23 points on a national basis.
Christie's central problem is that his claim to the Republican nomination was the claim that he had crossover appeal, but all these polls put the lie to that claim. Without a real strong base of a support within the GOP itself, that puts him in no man's land. Unless he can figure out a way to magically reestablish that appeal—or he faces a field as weak as the one Mitt Romney faced in 2012—Christie's national ambitions are doomed.