Actually being a Republican governor of a Democratic state doesn't guarantee victory
As every good subscriber to conventional wisdom knows, when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie won his overwhelming reelection victory over an underfunded and little-known opponent, he essentially became president-elect. Why? Because as everybody with at least a surface appreciation of politics knows, New Jersey hasn't voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1984 and Christie is a Republican governor in a blue state.
Of course, even on election day there was one little problem with that theory: According to exit polls, the same voters that gave Christie his enormous win would have voted for Hillary Clinton if they had been voting for president and the choice had been between Christie and Hillary.
And now a new NBC News poll shows that Christie has the same problem nationally as he does in New Jersey—and that even at the apex of his popularity, he faces considerable skepticism within the Republican Party.
The poll finds Clinton getting the support of 44 percent of all adults in a hypothetical match up against the New Jersey governor, who gets 34 percent.
The poll shows Hillary leading among African Americans, young people, and Latinos, while Christie leads among whites and upper-income voters, suggesting that for all the hype about Christie being a new kind of Republican, people still see him as a regular old member of the GOP.
But Chris Christie's problem isn't just that he trails Hillary, it's that he's not a lock to to win the GOP nomination.
According to the poll, 32% of Republican and Republican-leaning respondents say they would vote for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in a GOP presidential primary, while 31% prefer another Republican candidate (never mind the other third who are undecided, so together 68% of GOPers are not on board with Christie).
Hillary Clinton's situation is the opposite: Two-thirds of Democrats say they want her to be their party's nominee. Between that and the fact that she leads Christie by 10 points, please excuse the gag-reflex when pundits express the conventional view of Chris Christie's invincibility.