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November 07, 2015

Down but not out for Christie?

538: Despite missing out on next primetime debate, governor could make surge

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie doesn't think missing out on the main stage for the next GOP debate is a demotion, and one analyst thinks he could be due for a surge in his campaign.

According to The Hill, Christie told CNN Friday that he's not viewing missing out on the primetime contest on FOX Business Tuesday as a setback. More from The Hill:

Christie, who has qualified for the previous three top-tier debates, instead described the move as a “transfer.”

“The fact is, we’re going to be on the stage, we’re going to be debating, people are going to be watching,” he said.

The governor said the media will still give him attention if he performs well at the undercard debate.

Ignoring the fact that some pollsters think FOX got it wrong not including Chrsitie in the primetime contest, he certainly could be right. Businesswoman Carly Fiorina, for example, shot up in national polls following her strong performance in the first early debate, propelling her into the next two primetime contests.

Christie may be able to bounce back by doing the same, a possibility bolstered by the fact that he should get more screen time. The only other canididates participating in the undercard debate are former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.

Besides, Christie isn't the only one who doesn't think participating in the "junior varsity" debate is a nail in his campaign's coffin.

Harry Enten of FiveThirtyEight points out that in New Hampshire, a key early primary state, Christie's poll numbers are still low but his favorability numbers are up.

Enten also says that because of the large GOP field, his increased presence in the state as of late could propel him to a win there and give him momentum.

The governor, who according to the website is relatively moderate comapred to other Republican candidates, could theoretically rise above the fray with that victory. More from Enten:

Would Christie be able to build on a victory in New Hampshire? Maybe not. It’s possible that — if a very conservative candidate wins Iowa and a moderate candidate wins New Hampshire — the election will reset in South Carolina, creating an opening for someone who didn’t do well in either of the first two contests. But it’s also possible that momentum from winning the early primary states would set up a showdown between Christie (or another moderate candidate) and a “conservative alternative” in later primaries.
That’s a showdown Christie would be in a position to win.

At the end of last month, Christie gained plenty of positive national attention for a Huffington Post video of him speaking on drug addiction that went viral.

That showed his electability, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said and Enten argues, and Christie's confrontational persona could help him make a run at the nomination despite being left of right compared to his GOP rivals.