Republicans and independents who lean independent would be most disappointed if either former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie or former Vice President Mike Pence emerged as the 2024 Republican nominee, a recent survey from the Economist/YouGov found.
The survey, which found former President Donald Trump leading the GOP primary by 39 points, asked respondents, “Would you be disappointed if any of these presidential candidates became the Republican nominee? Select all that apply.”
A majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, 52 percent, said they would be most disappointed to see Christie as the nominee, followed by 47 percent who said they would be disappointed to see Pence as the GOP candidate of choice. Over one-third, 36 percent, said the same of former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and nearly one-quarter, 23 percent, said they would be disappointed to see former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley or anti-woke businessman Vivek Ramaswamy as the nominee.
Eighteen percent said the same of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and Trump came in with the smallest percentage expressing disappointment, as 17 percent said they would be disappointed to see either as the nominee.
The survey was taken September 10-12, 2023, among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens.
The results serve as a testament to Trump’s iron grip on the party, as both Christie and Pence stand as two clear Trump critics. In August, Christie asserted that the country has a “Donald Trump problem” and suggested Trump has authoritarian aspirations.
“I think what we have is a Donald Trump problem. Right now, what’s gone on is that people view Donald Trump synonymously with the Republican Party and that if you oppose Trump, that’s somehow favoring Biden,” he said during an appearance on CNN’s The Lead.
“Many Republicans don’t want to do that for very obvious reasons,” Christie continued, before asserting that Trump would like to be an authoritarian leader:
He’s the guy who thinks that Vladimir Putin is an excellent leader and brilliant. He’s the guy who thinks that President Xi is straight out of Hollywood. He’s the guy who thinks Kim Jong Un is wonderful. I mean, these are things that he’s said about the authoritarian leader, and that is because Donald Trump would like to be one himself. He likes that.
WATCH — Chris Christie: Trump Would Like to Be an ‘Authoritarian Leader’
Pence has also criticized Trump, angering many Trump supporters after essentially claiming that Trump put “himself over the Constitution” following Special Counsel Jack Smith’s indictment of Trump in charges related to January 6.
“Today’s indictment serves as an important reminder: anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be President of the United States,” Pence said in a statement at the time. “I will have more to say about the government’s case after reviewing the indictment.”
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Both Christie and Pence have consistently stood as the most unfavorable candidates in the Republican primary field, week after week in Morning Consult’s weekly poll analyzing the GOP race.