Chris Christie for president? New Jerseyans are convinced he wants to run.

September 18, 2013

Most New Jersey residents think Gov. Chris Christie (R) wants to run for president in 2016, according to a new Monmouth University poll released Wednesday.

Sixty-three percent of New Jerseyans say they think Christie wants to make a White House bid, including 40 percent who say he is already planning to run.

Even as many are convinced he's already planning his bid, a plurality say he is more concerned with governing the state than he is with his own future.

(Mel Evans/AP)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). (Mel Evans/AP)

That matters because Christie is running for reelection this year, and can't afford to give off the perception that he is looking past the 2013 gubernatorial campaign toward a possible 2016 run.

Forty-four percent of residents surveyed say he is more concerned with governing in New Jersey than he is in his own political future, while 38 percent say the opposite; 12 percent say he gives both equal treatment.

That's not nearly as much of a focus on New Jersey as respondents saw from Christie right after Hurricane Sandy hit last fall. But, as Monmouth notes, it's still a shift in the other direction from early 2012, when nearly half of New Jerseyans said Christie was more focused on his own future.

In short, it's good news for Christie's 2013 prospects that New Jerseyans are not convinced he has taken his eye off the ball at home.

Does Christie have what it takes to be president? Majorities say he has the right temperament (56 percent) and right experience (53 percent), and most say he is healthy enough for the job.

Polls show Christie is in complete control of the campaign against Democratic nominee Barbara Buono headed toward the November election, so it's not surprising to see the Republican's popularity translate to enthusiasm about the idea of him running for president.

Sean Sullivan covers national politics for “The Fix.”
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Chris Cillizza | September 18, 2013