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Many GOP Voters See Christie as a Drag on Trump Ticket

Thursday, May 5, 2016

West Long Branch, NJ – Even before the Indiana results came in, New Jersey was already shaping up to give Donald Trump his best showing of the primary season.  As speculation now turns to the presumptive nominee’s choice of running mate, the Monmouth University Poll finds many Garden State Republicans feel Trump might be making a mistake in considering their governor for the number two slot.

            Among GOP voters likely to cast ballots in the June 7th primary, 70% say they will vote for Trump.  Just 15% support John Kasich and 11% back Ted Cruz.  Trump holds overwhelming leads among every voter group in the state. [Note: Interviews for this poll were conducted Sunday to Tuesday, nearly all of which were completed before Cruz announced the suspension of his campaign.]

            Trump recently said his pick for vice president would “most likely” be an elected official.  One name at the top of that list is New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie.  However, few New Jersey Republicans think choosing Christie would be a good idea.  Just 15% say Christie would help Trump’s campaign while a plurality of 41% actually say Christie would hurt Trump in November.  Another 37% say picking Christie for the ticket would not have an impact either way.

           “It’s hard to imagine any running mate who could kill the Trump buzz, but the voters who know Chris Christie best think he might be that guy,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.  “The advice from New Jersey Republicans?  Look elsewhere for a running mate.”

            Christie may not be viewed as the optimal VP pick, but his position on top of the Trump delegate slate would have done little damage to the candidate’s standing.  New Jersey’s primary ballot requires Republicans to cast two votes – one for their presidential preference and another for the candidate’s delegate slate.  In the 2012 presidential primary, more than 1-in-5 voters neglected to select a delegate slate even though they voted for a candidate.  Nearly half (47%) of likely 2016 primary voters say seeing Christie’s name at the top of a candidate’s delegate slate would have no impact on their support for that slate.  Another 34% say they would be more likely to support a slate headed by Christie and 13% say they would be less likely.

            “For New Jersey Republicans, this race is about the top of the ticket even though it is the delegate vote that actually counts.  Still, these poll results mean that Trump’s preferred delegates will be heading to Cleveland even with a significant undervote for the slate,” said Murray.

            The other candidate slates are also headed by well-known Republican figures, but these names would have had even less impact on voters’ choice if the campaign had continued into June.  The Kasich slate is led by former governor Christie Todd Whitman.  Two-thirds (67%) say seeing her name at the top of a delegate slate would have no impact on their vote, while 13% say they would be more likely to support that slate and 12% would be less likely.  The Cruz slate is topped by former mayor and candidate for statewide office Steve Lonegan.  Three-quarters (76%) say seeing his name at the top of a delegate slate would have no impact on their vote, while 8% say they would be more likely to support that slate and 7% would be less likely.

            Looking ahead to November, 79% of New Jersey GOP primary voters say they will stick with Trump in the general election.  Among the remainder, 6% say they will vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton, 6% will vote for another candidate, 3% will stay home, and 6% are not sure what they will do.  Among Cruz and Kasich supporters, just 45% say they will vote for Trump in November while 19% will vote for Clinton, 14% will vote for another candidate on the ballot, 12% will stay home, and 10% are undecided.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from May 1 to 3, 2016 with 301 New Jersey voters likely to vote in the Republican presidential primary.  This sample as a margin of error of +5.7 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

DATA TABLES

The questions referred to in this release are as follows:

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

1. If the Republican primary election for president was today, would you vote for – [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

  May 2016
Donald Trump 70%
John Kasich 15%
Ted Cruz 11%
(VOL) Other 0%
(VOL) Undecided 5%
(n) (301)

2. Which of the following best describes where your decision stands at this moment:  I am completely decided on which candidate I will support, I have a strong preference right now but I am willing to consider other candidates, I have a slight preference among a group of candidates I like, or I am really undecided among a number of candidates?

  May 2016
Already voted 1%
Completely decided 55%
Strong preference 26%
Slight preference 6%
Undecided 11%

3. If Donald Trump became the Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton became the Democratic nominee, who would you vote for in the general election in November – Trump or Clinton or an independent candidate, or would you not vote for president?

  May 2016
Donald Trump 79%
Hillary Clinton 6%
Independent candidate 6%
Would not vote 3%
(VOL) Undecided 6%

In addition to voting for a presidential candidate, you will also be asked to vote for a slate of convention delegates.

[QUESTIONS 4 THROUGH 6 WERE ROTATED]

4. Are you more likely or less likely to vote for a delegate slate headed by Chris Christie, or does this have no impact on your delegate vote?

  May 2016
More likely 34%
Less likely 13%
No impact 47%
(VOL) Don’t know 6%

5. Are you more likely or less likely to vote for a delegate slate headed by Steve Lonegan, or does this have no impact on your delegate vote?

  May 2016
More likely 8%
Less likely 7%
No impact 76%
(VOL) Don’t know 10%

6. Are you more likely or less likely to vote for a delegate slate headed by Christie Todd Whitman, or does this have no impact on your delegate vote?

  May 2016
More likely 13%
Less likely 12%
No impact 67%
(VOL) Don’t know 8%

7. Do you think it would help or hurt Donald Trump if he chose Chris Christie to be his running mate, or do you think it wouldn’t matter either way?

  May 2016
Help 15%
Hurt 41%
Wouldn’t matter 37%
(VOL) Don’t know 6%

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from May 1 to 3, 2016 with a statewide random sample of New Jersey voters drawn from a list of Republican and unaffiliated registered voters, who participated in a primary election in 2012, 2013 or 2014 or voted in two of the last three general elections or have registered since 2014, and indicate they will vote in the Republican presidential primary on June 7, 2016.  The total sample of 301 likely voters includes 220 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 81 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English.  Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. Final sample is weighted for age and gender based on state registration list information on the pool of voters who participate in primary elections. Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and Aristotle (voter list). For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 5.7 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

POLL DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)
LIKELY REPUBLICAN PRIMARY VOTERS
51% Male 11% 18-34 92% White
49% Female 30% 35-49   0% Black
  35% 50-64   6% Hispanic
  24% 65+   2% Other

Download this Poll Report with crosstabs