Elephant Race: Analyst Ranks ’16 GOP Candidates

AGreg Valliere of the Potomac Research Group recently ranked the likelihood of 10 Republican hopefuls for the 2016 candidacy for President. Business Insider offers a summary for each candidate, but here’s the list. (And you’ll notice our governor made the list — and some in the media speculate he has a much better shot than that.):

10. Mike Pence
9. Scott Walker
8. Rick Santorum
7. Paul Ryan
6. Chris Christie
5. Mitt Romney
4. Ted Cruz
3. Rand Paul
2. Marco Rubio
1. Jeb Bush

Way Too Early for 2016 Hype, But…

It’s way too early for this, but I can’t help myself. Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie appear to be favorites as nominees for the 2016 election, and NBC News reports on a recent poll showing Clinton had the edge thus far. She also appears to benefit from more cohesive support from her party than Christie, as Tea Partiers don’t seem to be enthusiastic about the Springsteen-loving East Coaster.

Christie vs. Clinton

Christie’s challenges extend beyond his own party: The poll finds Clinton getting the support of 44 percent of all adults in a hypothetical match up against the New Jersey governor, who gets 34 percent. The rest of respondents either preferred another candidate, said they would not vote, or were undecided.

And while Election Day 2016 is still more than 1,000 days away, the survey shows Clinton benefiting from the same demographic trends that helped propel President Barack Obama to win the election in 2008 and re-election in 2012.

Clinton leads Christie among African Americans (83 percent to 4 percent), respondents ages 18 to 29 (45 percent to 31 percent) and Latinos (44 percent to 33 percent).

Clinton also holds the advantage with residents from the Northeast (52 percent to 35 percent), West (43 percent to 30 percent), the South (43 percent to 35 percent) and Midwest (41 percent to 37 percent). And she has a narrow edge among independents (39 percent to 35 percent).

Christie, meanwhile, leads among whites (41 percent to 37 percent), seniors (44 percent to 41 percent) and respondents with an annual income of $75,000 or more (46 percent to 34 percent).

New Jersey Governor Freezes Spending

His fellow conservatives are calling it a necessity. The opposition says he’s forcing school districts to raise property taxes. Either way, new New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says he is just following up on a campaign promise to drastically cut spending in the Garden State by declaring a spending freeze. I’m curious, is there any chance somebody is willing to freeze production on "Jersey Shore" for the general benefit of society?

The snow isn’t the only thing that’s causing a chill in the Garden State.

Calling New Jersey’s budget a "shambles," Gov. Chris Christie announced Thursday he is immediately freezing all state spending.

Saying New Jersey is on the verge of bankruptcy, Christie declared a fiscal emergency, announcing drastic cuts. Among them, aid to school districts that have excess surpluses.

"Today we are going to act swiftly to fix problems too long ignored. Today I begin to do what I promised the people of New Jersey I would do," Christie said.

The move had Democrats in an uproar, angry the governor used his executive powers instead of working with the Legislature.

"What that’s going to mean is that those school districts without that money are going to be raising property taxes in the upcoming year to make up for that shortfall," said Assemblyman John Wisniewski, D-19th District.

The governor also cut state subsidies to New Jersey Transit, saying it needs to become fiscally efficient.

"Revisit its rich union contracts," Christie said. "And they may also have to consider service reductions or fare increases."