According to the poll, Christie is favored by 16 percent of Republicans and Republican leaning independents. Paul Ryan is next at 12, then Rand Paul at 9 percent.
|Source: NBC News/Marist Poll National; January 2014|
But I have a few beefs with the way the poll was constructed.
The poll released by NBC shows it asked an early question about Chris Christie, while asking no stand alone questions about other Republicans. This perhaps sows the seed of Christie bias, acting as a spoiler for the questions to come. The initial Christie question was sandwiched between one about President Obama and quizzing opinion of Hillary Clinton.
We also don't know the geographic areas that were polled. We do know, according to NBC's released data, that more Democrats than Republicans were polled here, which is odd for a poll that purposely consists of questions primarily about Republican presidential preferences.
The poll seems to assume Hillary Clinton will be the Democrat nominee in 2016, and polls a head-to-head Clinton-Christie match up. The poll does not seek to put any of the other Republicans in a head-to-head match up with Clinton. Nor are respondents asked if they'd like to see a Democrat other than Clinton.
Strikes me the pollsters have bias, whether they realize it or not.