Poll: Christie most popular among 2016 contenders

The university tested Christie, Rubio, Jindal, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former presidential contender Rick Santorum.

Of the five, though Christie is best-liked among those who know him, only 68 percent of those polled knew who he was.

Bush registered the highest name recognition, with 80 percent of respondents saying they knew who he was, and Santorum came in a close second, with 79 percent familiar with him.

Jindal had the lowest name recognition, with only 37 percent of respondents saying they know who he is.

However, though Bush has the highest name recognition, only 32 percent of those familiar with him think of him favorably. Santorum has about the same amount of support among registered voters that know who he is.

It's a reminder that the potential contenders' past political careers will weigh on them heavily in a future run.

Though Santorum has privately expressed interest in a 2016 run, the FDU poll indicates he'll have to do some image rebuilding over the next four years, after emerging from a drawn-out presidential primary that left all participants bruised.

Bush, too, may need to begin to distance himself from his brother, President George W. Bush, on the national stage. The former president left office with a 34 percent approval rating, according to Gallup.

The poll was conducted among 814 registered voters nationwide from Dec. 10-16, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.