Chris Christie has a go-to sales pitch in Iowa: You might not know it yet, but you like me. You really like me.
There's one big problem with this approach: No matter how much he insists that he is their kind of Republican, they aren't buying it.
According to the latest Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll, Christie is a known quantity. Among possible GOP 2016 contenders, only 10 percent aren't sure about how they feel about him. Only Mike Huckabee does better on that score.
But that familiarity has only led to high unfavorable ratings for Christie. Some 54 percent of likely 2016 GOP caucus-goers have an unfavorable view of the New Jersey governor. That's up from 45 percent in October, and only Donald Trump does worse, with a 68 percent unfavorable rating. (The difference is that Trump isn't running for president, nor is he busy trying to convince people that they should really like him.)
Christie does do better in New Hamphire. There, 59 percent give him favorable marks, but his 29 percent unfavorable rating is tied for the highest non-Trump number (with Mike Huckabee). And this is the state that is supposed to be Christie's (a Northeasterner) strength.
Christie was once the GOP's knight in shining armor, potentially riding into the 2012 primary at the last minute to save the party. Since then, his brand has taken a turn for the worse, but the message has largely stayed the same.
These are the pitfalls of relying on your personality. When you're popular, it's great; when you're not, it's grating.