The governor of New Jersey is the hottest politician in America. So says a new poll out Monday morning from Quinnipiac, which asks voters to give a temperature rating to a list of politicians to get a sense of how favorable respondents feel toward them. Gov. Chris Christie clocked in with 53.1 degrees on the thermometer, followed by Hillary Rodham Clinton with 52.1 degrees. Christie and Clinton are the only politicians in the country to rank in the top half of the scale. Unsurprisingly, our congressional leaders all rank at the bottom.
From there though, things get more interesting.
President Obama didn't make third on the list (47.6 degrees). That honor goes to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., with a 49.2 degree rating. Warren, of course, has only been in the Senate since the beginning of this year. But she's already managed to generate a devoted following, as her rating shows. This doesn't necessarily mean that Warren should start prepping a 2016 presidential run, though: A recent Public Policy Polling survey has her seriously trailing other candidates among Democrats, and 51 percent of voters in the Quinnipiac poll didn't know enough about Warren to rate her.
Warren wasn't the only Democratic woman to rank highly. Tied with Obama at 47.6 degrees is Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. Although Gillibrand has a more severe case of the same problem that Warren has: She may be popular among people who know her, but not too many people actually know her. Seventy-five percent of Quinnipiac respondents didn't know enough to give the senator a ranking.
Still, the poll does point to a potentially promising future for both Warren and Gillibrand. And it's not like life is so easy at the top of the rankings either.
Among Republicans, Christie netted a 59.8 degree rating. Which sounds good, before you look at the people who are above (and directly below) him:
That's pretty good news for Paul Ryan, who is quite far down overall with a 43 degree rating. And it's pretty great news for the relatively unknown Ted Cruz. But living behind failed 2012 presidential candidate Rick Santorum and just above one of the least popular governors in the country isn't too swell for Gov. Christie.
On the Democratic side of the survey, Hillary Clinton is in a comfortable first-place with a 77.7 degree rating. But, thinking purely about 2016, if she decides not to run, who's in the best position to win a Democratic primary? Here are the top politicians among Democrats:
Assuming that Obama doesn't pull a Mayor Michael Bloomberg and shoot for another term, the guy in third, who only 5 percent of respondents didn't know enough about to rate, is the one and only Joe Biden. Keeping the dream alive.
But notice anything interesting about this list? Like, say, the second-to-last politician? The one who rates a bit worse than possible 2016 Democratic hopeful Martin O'Malley and a whole lot better than Democrat Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia? Chris Christie may be slumming it some among Republicans, but he's looked upon surprisingly favorably by Democratic voters.
As we work our way through August and into the real buildup for the 2016 presidential run, expect that last bit of information to be thoroughly hammered into your consciousness.