As Donald Trump rises to the top of political polls among Republican candidates for president, the biggest loser may be Gov. Chris Christie in the crucial primary state of New Hampshire.
The outspoken billionaire was the runaway leader with 24 percent of GOP voters in the Granite State in a Monmouth University poll released Tuesday. Christie trailed in eighth place with only 4 percent.
Behind Trump and ahead of Christie were Jeb Bush (12 percent), John Kasich (7 percent), Scott Walker (7 percent), Marco Rubio (6 percent), Ben Carson (5 percent) and Rand Paul (5 percent).
Christie is pinning his hopes on a “Telling it Like it Is” campaign strategy to produce a strong showing in the Granite State. But Trump’s inflammatory comments on Mexican immigrants, John McCain’s war record and other issues have shoved Christie out of the spotlight.
“It seems that Trump has stolen the New Jersey governor’s ‘telling it like it is’ thunder,” said poll director Patrick Murray. “Christie does much better as a second choice than a first pick in New Hampshire.”
In fact, Christie is the most popular second banana for Trump backers, according to the poll. If not for Trump, he’d get 15 percent of that vote.
Christie has bet heavily on New Hampshire, a bellwether state that will hold the first 2016 presidential primary Feb. 9. He has been there more often than in New Jersey, the state he governs, since officially announcing his candidacy last month.
For Christie and the other 15 candidates, the immediate hurdle is qualifying for next week’s prime-time debate on the Fox News Channel.
That debate will include the top 10 GOP contenders as determined by an average of the five most recent polls, selected by Fox, prior to 5 p.m. on Aug. 4.
The two-hour debate is scheduled to begin 9 p.m. on Aug. 6.
The remaining six candidates will be invited to participate in a separate second-tier forum to be televised by Fox earlier that day, starting at 5 p.m.
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