U.S. Senator for Texas Ted Cruz ’92 and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have support from six percent and three percent of the party, respectively, according to a recent CNN national poll. These ratings keep both Cruz and Christie ranked in the top 10 Republican presidential hopefuls, although they trail behind several other candidates.
Donald Trump is the party’s front-runner with 24 percent, followed by Carly Fiorina with 15 percent and Ben Carson with 14 percent.
Both Cruz and Christie have significant ties to the University. Cruz graduated from the University in 1992 as a Wilson School major, and he went on to pursue a law degree and later became involved in politics. Christie was born in New Jersey and became governor of the state in 2009. He won his re-election bid in 2013, was elected chairman of the Republican Governors Association and currently serves as an ex-officio member of the University’s Board of Trustees.
Cruz was the first major candidate to announce a 2016 presidential bid, declaring his intention to run for president at Liberty University on March 23. Christie entered the race on June 30 as the 14th Republican candidate.
Neither the Christie campaign nor the Cruz campaign responded to requests for comment.
Associate politics professor Paul Frymer noted that neither Christie nor Cruz has a strong likelihood of receiving the Republican nomination, though he noted that situations may change during a presidential race.
Frymer explained that Christie and Cruz have not shown themselves to be very appealing thus far in the race, and the entrance of Trump has significantly damaged their campaigns.
“It’s hurt Cruz because a lot of what Trump is saying is Cruz’s message, but Trump is getting more attention,” he said.
Frymer added that Christie’s tactic is to bluster and call it like he sees it, but Trump uses a similar method far more successfully.
“Trump has stolen [Christie’s] thunder as well. He’s saying it louder and more successfully,” he said.
In the Sept. 16 Republican debate, Christie’s performance was considered strong by several news sources,including CNN. However, Christie’s poll numbers have not increased significantly since then, and he continues to trail the other Republican candidates.
Cruz has also remained consistent in recent polls, but news sources have categorized his performance in the debate as a poor one. According to CNN, Cruz lost importance in the debate because he did not appear willing to face Trump on pivotal issues.
Both Christie and Cruz have taken clearer positions on controversial issues as the race has progressed. In regards to immigration, Christie recently unveiled a plan for tracking immigrants who overstay their visas in a manner similar to the way FedEx packages are tracked, according to CNN.
Cruz took a hard stance on amnesty in immigration.
“A majority of the men and women on this stage have previously and publicly embraced amnesty,” Cruz said, according to politifact.com. “I am the only candidate on this stage who has never supported amnesty.”
Frymer noted that just as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker dropped out of the race on Monday, more candidates will start to also drop out due to a number of factors. He explained that they need enough funding to continue running, as well as a strong voter base. Thus far, he said, neither Christie nor Cruz has shown that they have a passionate voter following, unlike Donald Trump.
He added that Christie would have a much stronger chance of receiving the nomination if former Governor Jeb Bush or Senator Marco Rubio were to drop out of the race, explaining that Bush and Rubio share the ideological space that Christie is trying to also occupy. However, since Bush has significantly more funding than Christie, and Rubio has more popularity, Frymer said it is highly unlikely that either will leave the race and open up more room for Christie.
Frymer noted that if Trump were to drop out of the race, Cruz would likely receive Trump’s voter base and thus get a large boost. However, he said this is also unlikely.
“At this point, it’s a lot about hanging in there and seeing what the opportunities are,” Frymer explained.
The next Republican debate, hosted by CNBC, will be on Wednesday, Oct. 28.
Correction: Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this article misstated the candidate currently in third place in the polls. Ben Carson is currently third in the polls with 14 percent. This article has also been updated to clarify the nature of the poll.