Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie should begin checking out flights between Newark and South Carolina since a new poll shows him 35% behind former President Donald Trump in a poll of Republican primary voters in a critical early state, according to a new poll conducted by Neighborhood Research and Media.
Trump leads Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis by 13 points, 35%-22%. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who entered the presidential race this week, is at 16% in her home state, while another South Carolinian, U.S. Senator Tim Scott, is at 1.6%, just fractionally ahead of former Vice President Mike Pence (1.5%).
Christie is at zero percent after no Republican voters thought to mention him in an open-ended ballot test question with no name suggested.
“All three leading candidates have issues here,” said pollster Rick Shaftan. “Trump’s 35% ballot share, which only expands to 45% when second and third choices are counted, is underwhelming for a former president and barely higher than the 33% he own in the 2016 primary.”
But Shaftan said “the base in South Carolina, at least, is still comfortable with Trump and backs him for now.”
DeSantis has the highest favorables of the potential candidates, but “he has not closed the sale with many of his own supporters,” Shaftan said.
Previous Shaftan polls place Christie at zero percent in Iowa and one-half of one percent in New Hampshire.
Christie has never polled well in South Carolina. An August 2015 Monmouth University poll put him at 2%, with eleven contenders ahead of him. As Palmetto State residents got to know him better, Christie dropped to 1% in another Monmouth University poll from November 2015.
Neighborhood Research and Media surveyed 300 South Carolina voters who voted in any of the last four Republican primaries and didn’t subsequently vote in a Democratic primary between February 7-10 and 13-14. The poll has a margin of error of 5.9%.