SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- If the Iowa Republican Caucus were held today, Gov. Chris Christie would get just 1 percent of the vote, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.
Right now, there appears to be no clear cut leader among the 14 declared GOP candidates. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker leads the pack in Iowa, but his support has dropped from 25 percent in a February poll to 18 percent in July among likely Republican Caucus participants. Six other contenders are battling for second place.
Jostling for second place are billionaire Donald Trump and physician and political newcomer Ben Carson at 10 percent each, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at 9 percent each, former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida at 8 percent and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 7 percent. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has 5 percent. No other candidate is above 4 percent. Another 5 percent are undecided.
"Those who thought the Republican race in the Iowa caucuses might begin to clarify itself better think again," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. "As more candidates toss their hats into the ring, the race has gotten even more muddled."
Trump and Bush top the "no way" list as 28 percent say they would definitely not support Trump and 24 percent say no to Bush. Christie is next on this negative list with 18 percent.
"New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may think making his candidacy official will help him climb out of the caucus basement," Brown added.
"When we are looking at polls that show Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson riding so high in the GOP primary, it is obvious the dust has not yet settled," said Jonathan Jaffe, managing principal of Jaffe Communications in Newark and publisher of the Jaffe Morning Briefing, a newsletter that monitors New Jersey politics.
"The good news for Chris Christie is that he can slowly build his base from the bottom while these unrealistic candidates with big names steadily implode over the next few months as we approach the New Hampshire primary in February," added Jaffe, a resident of Scotch Plains.
"This is the time for Christie to look polished and smart, as the unqualified candidates ultimately burn off in the media spotlight. He needs to show that he can raise money, is loyal to the GOP base and can be a viable alternative to the likes of Donald Trump, which should ultimately not prove difficult when more rational minds get engaged in this race."
The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado and the nation as a public service and for research.