it's never too early to talk about 2016

Republican Voters Hate Chris Christie

The pat heard round the world. Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Hate may be too strong a word. Okay, it’s definitely too strong a word, but it made for a better headline than “Republicans Like Chris Christie Less Than They Like Every Other Potential 2016 Hopeful,” which is not an exaggeration. According to a PPP poll, Christie’s net approval rating among Republican voters nationwide is only +21, which is 10 points lower than Rand Paul, 21 points lower than Sarah Palin, and a staggering 38 points lower than Paul Ryan.

It’s no mystery why Christie, who was not so long ago seen as a GOP rising star/savior, has become so unpopular among members of his own party: He said nice things about President Obama after Hurricane Sandy, Obama’s poll numbers went up about the same time, and Mitt Romney lost the election. We’ll never know how much of an impact, exactly, Christie’s bro-ing around with Obama had on the election’s outcome, but to many Republicans, the damage was significant.

Nevertheless, it’s a long way to 2015, when the GOP primary campaign will begin, and we have a feeling that Republicans will warm to Christie if polls start showing him as the strongest challenger to Hillary Clinton (which would not be surprising). After two straight shellackings, what the GOP wants more than anything is a winner.