Christie emerges as Republican '16 frontrunner in CNN poll


McClatchy Washington Bureau

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has vaulted into a clear lead in the 2016 Republican presidential race, according to a new CNN/ORC International poll.

Christie has been on a publicity binge lately, after winning re-election to a second term easily.

The poll four 24 percent of Republicans and independents leaning toward the Republican party said they were likely to back Christie in 2016.

Next was Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at 13 percent, followed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee, at 11 percent.

Trailing were Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, at 10 percent.

No one else hit double digits. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio had 9 percent, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry had 7 percent.

A CNN analysis noted, "The poll suggests a wide divide over income among Republican voters."

"Among Republicans making more than $50,000, Christie wins 32% support, 20 points higher than Cruz, Ryan, or Marco Rubio, all of whom get 12% among higher-income GOPers, and 23 points higher than Paul," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But among Republicans who make less than $50,000 a year, Christie's support drops 19 points, only good enough for second place behind Paul."

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