Wednesday, July 17, 2013

2016: Joe Biden vs. Chris Christie Shaping Up To Be A Polling NIGHTMARE For Democrats

Photo taken at the September 11th anniversary ceremony in 2010, courtesy of Lucas Jackson-Pool/Getty Images

The new Virginia Quinnipiac poll released this morning holds one troubling bit of information for Democrats: the next election could be a disaster at the presidential level, that is, if they're unfortunate enough to wind up with Chris Christie as their opponent, and Joe Biden as their nominee.

The Virginia survey finds Gov. Chris Christie defeating Vice President Joe Biden in a hypothetical presidential race by 8 points, or 46-38%. That's awfully reminiscent of the 2004 presidential result, but a far cry from the 6 and 4 point victories for Barack Obama in '08 and '12. In fact, if Christie's 8 point margin over Biden were to hold until election day, it would represent a net 12 point shift in the Republicans favor since the 2012 Presidential election.

But Virginia isn't the only state seeing drastically different results from 2012 in the event of a Christie/Biden contest. In fact, all 12 of the public surveys on the race show a shift in the Republicans favor from 2012 of no less than 4 points, and no more than 29! See the chart below:

In 11 of the 12 state and national polls, Chris Christie leads Joe Biden, frequently by significant margins.

Consider the spate of state polls released by Quinnipiac this year. A handful of purple swing-states turn SOLID red when respondents are asked to choose between Christie and Biden in a hypothetical 2016 race.

 Ohio, which has voted for the winning presidential candidate by no more than 5 points in the last four elections, chooses Christie over Biden by 18 points, 50-32%. No one has carried Ohio by such a margin since Reagan defeated Mondale there in '84 (60-40%).

There's a massive 21 point swing in Colorado if Christie and Biden are the presidential nominees in 2016, with Christie leading 48-32% (again, a level not seen since Reagan defeated Mondale 63-35%).

Unlike Romney in 2012, Christie looks well poised to turn his blue homestate red, with both PPP and Marist finding >20 point swings in the Republicans favor.

Even Pennsylvania, where the Vice President has well-known roots, Christie leads 51-38%, a margin not enjoyed by a Republican in that state since...Richard Nixon in 1972 (defeated McGovern 59-39%).

The map below is an illustration of the Biden v. Christie poll numbers set to the electoral college, with 2012 results supplanting the data in states where no poll has been conducted yet (which, obviously, is a lot). Courtesy of

When viewing the map, keep in mind that rarely do states like Ohio or Pennsylvania vote for a presidential candidate by double-digits. In fact, such a thing would only realistically happen in the event of a national landslide, on scale with Reagan in 1984. So states that narrowly or marginally voted for Obama over Romney in 2012 would logically show Christie leading Biden in polling in places such as Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Michigan, and perhaps even Minnesota, New Mexico, or more.

As always, I realize relying on polling 3 years out CAN be foolhearted. But we've got what we've got, and at least for the time being, all polls are in agreement that Christie would defeat Biden in a cakewalk.

UPDATE:  Christie is in a much better position against Joe Biden, polling wise, than popular Governor George W. Bush was against two-term VP Al Gore in 1997. See the third chart in this link. Gore led Bush by healthy margins for most of that year.

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