Gov. Chris Christie (R) emerged from his typical stoic, demure shell on Tuesday to bash a new poll from New Jersey-based Monmouth University and the pollster that conducted it.
In the survey of likely New Hampshire primary voters, Christie grabbed 4 percent of support -- good enough for eighth place. Video of Christie's comments, taped alongside a noisy road, was captured by a tracker from a Democratic PAC.
"You guys should know by now that the Monmouth University poll was created just to aggravate me," Christie said, suggesting that the poll was working as intended. "There couldn't be a less objective pollster about Chris Christie in America." He continued: "There are polls and there are polls, guys. And part of the problem is that no one exercises any quality control over what you should listen to and not listen to. That's why I've said all along, I don't really care about that stuff."
Setting aside everything else, the result from Monmouth is hardly an aberration. In polls included in Real Clear Politics' track of the Republican field in New Hampshire, Christie has been mired around five points for several months now. That's as Scott Walker has plummeted and Donald Trump -- who grabbed most of the headlines today -- has risen.
Dismissing the 4 percent showing as somehow being due to bias against Christie doesn't make much sense in light of that trend. But it also doesn't make much sense in light of how everyone else did. The implication is, what, Monmouth shaved points from a suddenly-surging Christie and handed them to Trump? A poll is a closed system, in which support removed from Christie has to go somewhere else. Did Monmouth take another four points from Christie and throw it in the "undecided" category? If so, Christie stepped on that a bit as he kept talking: "To say in that poll, 14 percent of the people are undecided? I think it's much more likely that 14 percent are decided, not undecided."
Christie's right that the poll itself, at this point, doesn't mean much. "If you look at polling in this stage of the presidential race," he said, "it's so non-indicative of what the ultimate result is going to be, that the only reason that anyone cares -- the only reason that I care -- is the top-10 situation with the Fox News poll," referring to the boundary set by the news network for the first debate. "Otherwise, who would care at this point?"
The answer is: Donors. Christie has staked a lot on a strong performance in New Hampshire, and he needs to keep donors on his team until the polls start to swing his way (if they ever do). Christie's dismissal of Monmouth is meant simply to cast enough doubt on the pollster's finding to keep support as stable as possible.
Another round of polls like those from NBC/Marist (6 percent), CNN/WMUR (5 percent) and Suffolk (5 percent), though, will make singling out Monmouth as biased that much more difficult.