NBC poll: Christie faces divided GOP, trails Clinton in hypothetical ’16 race

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from NBCNews.com,

If New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie runs for president in 2016, he would face the dual challenges of uniting a fractured Republican Party and besting a formidable Hillary Clinton in a general election, according to a new NBC News poll.

Following his resounding re-election victory last week, 32 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning respondents say they would vote for Christie in a GOP presidential primary, while 31 percent prefer another Republican candidate.

“Naming just Christie divides the faithful equally into Christie, Not Christie and Don’t Know,” said G. Evans Witt, CEO of Princeton Survey Research, which conducted the poll.

There’s also a striking geographical divide: A majority of Northeast Republicans (57 percent to 22 percent) say they would support Christie in a GOP primary.

But pluralities of Republicans in other parts of the country prefer another GOP candidate – in the Midwest (by 35 percent to 30 percent), the South (29 percent to 27 percent) and the West (40 percent to 22 percent).

“We’re so frustrated with all this Christie talk we can’t see straight,” Scott Hofstra, a Tea Party Republican from Kentucky told the Times. “He’s no more conservative than Harry Reid,” referring to the Democratic Senate majority leader.

Christie’s challenges extend beyond his own 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 rest of respondents either preferred another candidate, said they would not vote, or were undecided.

Within her own party, Clinton enjoys strong support for the nomination. Sixty-six percent of Democratic or Democratic-leaning respondents say they’d back Clinton in a presidential primary, versus just 14 percent who say they’d vote for another Democratic candidate.

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