Gallup: Christie most popular GOP hopeful, least popular with GOP base

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is the most popular potential 2016 candidate in the Republican Party — and the least popular with the GOP base, according to a new Gallup poll.

Those numbers come as Christie is set to appear with former President Clinton Friday evening — instead of stopping by the annual Faith & Freedom Coalition gathering of religious conservatives, an event that drew many other potential GOP presidential candidates.

Christie has a net positive rating of 32 percentage points among all voters, with 52 percent holding favorable opinions of him to just 20 who see him negatively. That's far ahead of the other four other Republicans tested. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has a 15-point net positive rating, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has an 8-point net positive rating, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has a 6-point net positive rating and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)has a 5-point positive rating.

But Christie is less popular than the others with Republicans, and much of popularity comes from his appeal to Democrats and independents. Christie's net positive favorable rating is 28, as compared to Ryan's 52-point net positive rating, Rubio's 47-point net positive rating, Paul's 32-point net positive rating and Cruz's 27-point net rating. Fully one-quarter of GOP voters hold a negative opinion of Christie.

Christie has made a number of moves in past months that have improved his standing with independent and Democratic voters at this expense of some popularity with his own party. The appearance with Clinton comes shortly after he angered Republicans by choosing a quick election to fill an open Senate seat in New Jersey rather than picking a Republican who could hold the seat for the rest of the term. Some Republicans remain angry over his close working relationship with President Obama on Hurricane Sandy relief, and his criticism of House Republicans after they delayed passage of relief funding.

The poll of 1,529 adults, including 703 Republicans, was conducted from June 1-4. The margin of error is 3 percentage point for the entire poll and 5 points for the GOP sample.

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