Although much of the focus on Christie's political future has been on a Presidential bid he's a long way from being able to take even a second term as Governor of New Jersey for granted, particularly if Newark Mayor Cory Booker were to challenge him two years from now. Booker is remarkably popular across the state with 46% of voters viewing him favorably to only 16% with a negative opinion. The number of politicians in the country with nearly 3:1 favorability ratings these days is pretty short.Christie has never worked hard to be popular, instead focussing on making hard choices for the longer term (what a weird politician he is), something which has earned him a lot of praise and done a lot to improve New Jersey's fortunes.
What's most striking within the figures on Booker is how well liked he is across party lines. Although he is unsurprisingly most popular with Democrats at a 51/12 favorability, he also has a 47/17 spread with independents, and even a 36/21 with Republicans. There just aren't very many Democrats who Republicans like right now, especially in a state as polarized as New Jersey.
In a hypothetical contest between Booker and Christie the two tie at 42% each. Those numbers are actually misleadingly good for Christie though. 21% of Democrats are undecided in such a match up while only 7% of Republicans are. That's probably a reflection of 38% of voters in the state still not having an opinion about Booker. More likely than not most of those undecided Democrats would end up in Booker's camp if this match up ever did become a reality.
Booker is the consumate campaigner, and sees opportunities pretty much everywhere it seems. I wrote up the other day about his reaction to the extreme snow in Newark (where he is Mayor), so its hardly surprising he's polling well and cutting across the party divide.
This is one of those "watch this space" scenarios, and one I'll be returning to in the future.