More Christiemania, according to a new poll -- and you may consider this poll ridiculous, but I'm going to try to explain why I think it's worth taking at least somewhat seriously:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is the "hottest" political figure in the country, according to a new temperature poll.A caveat:
Voters were asked to give politicians a number from 0-100 representing how they feel about that figure, with 0 being least favorable, or coldest, and 100 being most favorable, or warmest, in the new Quinnipiac survey on Monday.
Christie's mean score was 53.1, topping the heap. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in a close second, at 52.1 degrees....
The potential Republican 2016 field fared far differently when the question was limited to Republican voters, however. Christie dropped to eighth most popular in that survey, with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) atop the pile at 68.7 degrees. Cruz, Rubio, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Sen. Rick Santorum came in above Christie, all with at least 60 degrees. Christie was at 59.8 degrees among Republicans.But if you look at the Quinnipiac link, you see that Christie gets fewer very low scores than you'd expect. Obviously this is because it's ridiculously early to be thinking about 2016. But it suggests that Christie may not be alienating the base as much as some of us think as he moderates a bit in order to get reelected this year in New Jersey. It's clear, however, that he's going to have to tack right in his second gubernatorial term in order to move up in the GOP pack before 2016, just the way Mitt Romney tacked right in the latter part of his gubernatorial term. (If only his Democratic opponent, Barbara Buono, could make voters understand that that's what he's going to do.)
But why am I giving credence to a silly poll like this? Are Quinnipiac "temperature" poll in any way predictive?
Maybe to some extent. There was one conducted in March 2006 that had Barack Obama at #2 overall on the heat-o-meter, with Hillary Clinton at #8. So possibly they're more meaningful than you'd imagine. On the other hand, #1 in that poll was ... Rudy Giuliani. (John McCain was #3.)
A few months later, in June 2006, Giuliani and Obama were still #1 and #2, but with McCain #4 (behind Condi Rice) and Hillary at #5.
And in a "temperature" poll in March 2011, the top five were Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, Chris Christie, Barack Obama, and ... Rudy Giuliani! (Does America seriously continue to crave a Giuliani presidency?)
So make of this what you will. The polls picked up a real signal (Obama's hotness) and some noise (Rudy).
But here's something worth noting about the current poll: #3 in hotness, right behind Christie and Hillary, is ... Elizabeth Warren. And #5 is Kirsten Gillibrand. This despite the fact that few voters know who Warren and Gillibrand are. (Quinnipiac clearly doesn't deduct points for that.)
So, um ... why the hell doesn't the Democratic Party promote Warren and Gillibrand as future stars? And even though it's true that the dignity of the two stands in sharp and refreshing contrast to the incessant self-promotion of so many Republican wannabes right now, couldn't Warren and Gillibrand consider tastefully tooting their own horns a wee bit more? For the good of the country?
Because I fear the Beltway is coming to the conclusion that there are a lot of hot, exciting, dynamic new voices in the GOP, while the Democratic Party is stale and tired and in need of new blood.
Incessant self-promotion is working on the right, as is the relentless promotion of right-wing ideology (and denigration of the Democratic Party and liberalism) on Fox and talk radio. The result is that, among Republicans, there are eleven people with hotness scores above 57: Ryan, Cruz, Rubio, Walker, Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Santorum, Christie, Jindal, and -- good grief -- Mitch McConnell and Peter King. Republican voters may be lukewarm toward their party, but they seem to love its leaders.
By contrast, Democrats rank only six pols that high: Hillary, Obama, Biden, Warren, Pelosi, and Gillibrand. Where the hell is the Democratic star-maker machinery?
A consequence of this is that independents' top 7 are all Republicans: Christie, Cruz, Rand Paul, Ryan, Jindal, Walker, and Rubio. That's not good. Democrats may be the demographic party of the future, but their farm system is not generating talent to appeal to those future voters. That's a real problem, no matter how silly you think this poll is. Where the hell is the Democrats' star-maker machinery?