The latest on the presidential horse race.

Christie’s Lead Slips as GOP Pack Grows

McClatchy/Marist, 12/3-12/5
GOP Primary:

  • Christie: 18
  • Paul: 12
  • Ryan: 11
  • Cruz: 10
  • Bush: 10
  • Palin: 8
  • Rubio: 7
  • Walker: 4
  • Santorum: 4
  • Perry: 3

A new poll from McClatchy/Marist has found that Chris Christie has maintained a solid 6 percent lead over any other Republican candidate but his support has slipped below 20 percent as the GOP finds itself hugely split on the direction of the party. Aside from Christie, four other candidates received double-digit support.

The poll, conducted between December 3 and December 5, sampling 419 registered Republican voters, found that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie remains the frontrunner in the 2016 GOP primary race with 18 percent of the vote. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul finished second in the poll with 12 percent of the vote. In November, a CNN poll showed that Christie had exploded to a 9 percent lead with 24 percent of the vote to Paul’s 15 but the growing field of potential GOP candidates has watered down the vote significantly.

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, fresh off of a win as he helped hammer through a bipartisan budget deal to roll back some of the sequestration cuts, placed third in the poll with 11 percent of the vote. Ryan’s 11 percent has been very consistent and didn’t get watered down by the growing field. He has been polling at 10-11 percent in every poll since September.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush both garnered 10 percent of the vote. Cruz has seen his support slip amid the growing selection of candidates, falling from as much as 20 percent support in September. Bush has polled at 10-12 percent consistently since the summer.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin placed fifth in the poll with 8 percent of the vote while Florida Senator Marco Rubio received 7 percent, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum each received 4 percent, and Texas Governor Rick Perry trails everyone with 3 percent.

Christie remains the frontrunner and, as a Republican governor in a blue state, he has proven to be a viable candidate. The poll found that this is not especially important to the Republican base, however, as 67 percent of respondents said they would vote for a candidate based on their conservative principles while just 31 percent said they would vote for someone who can win.

(Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore)