Chris Christie a mystery to many Americans – As the political world is transfixed on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s potential presidential campaign, 2011 polls show over four in 10 Americans - and a similar number of Republicans - don’t know who he is. Fully 44 percent of all adults and Republicans alike offered no opinion on Christie (R) in a June NBC/Wall Street Journal poll; 23 percent offered positive ratings, 14 percent negative and 19 percent neutral. As political scientist Charles Franklin notes, these numbers are fairly consistent across polls this year.

Aside from simple popularity, 18 percent of registered voters in a February Fox News poll said Christie would make a good president, but 34 percent said he wouldn’t (49 percent had no opinion). Republicans divided 29 to 24 percent on whether Christie would make a good president.

2012 Pennsylvania and Ohio update – In a Quinnipiac poll of Pennsylvania voters released Wednesday President Obama holds a slight 46-40 percent lead against Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) but splits 45-43 percent with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney among registered voters. In Ohio, Perry has pulled within three points of the incumbent (44 percent Obama vs. 41 percent Perry) while Obama and Romney remain just as close, 44-42 percent.

Negative views of tea party hit new high – A 53 percent majority of Americans now hold a negative view of the tea party in a CNN poll released Tuesday. The results are similar to 51 percent in August but up 13 points from one year ago, when 40 percent saw the movement in a negative light. Democrats are overwhelmingly negative (76 percent unfavorable, 8 percent favorable) while Republicans give positive ratings by 51 to 30 percent. Independents split much like the public overall, with 50 percent unfavorable and 29 percent favorable.

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