I try not to make media rating predictions, but Chris Christie is in a vulnerable media spot versus his GOP rivals. He can’t be discounted as Christie’s has repeatedly used the GOP bullpit and townhouse meeting format to revise his ailing image in the past while trash-talking his critics. And there has been no shortage of critics and enemies since his allies orchestrated what had to be the first politically motivated traffic jams in American politics – the Bridgegate scandal (September 2013).
But media fortunes – or in this case misfortunes – can be short lived if handled correctly. Traditional and social media segments have all but ignored Christie over the preceding 2 months as he regroups and attempts to reverse the rating slide that undercut his December rating high of 91. Christie’s current media rating of 85 is still considered strong, and only Hillary Clinton has outdone the New Jersey Governor on media rating performance with her 93 rating in March.
But if there’s a reason to doubt a moving average trend line, it’s this one. The coverage is is just not where it should be versus his main rivals. The Chris Christie brand still has some momentum at +31% to accompany his strong 85 rating, but the February and March drops are troubling and signal an attentive media may have moved on to his GOP rivals and the more media attractive Democratic candidate.
Social Media Traction is Down for Christie
Chris Christie lost most of his March media rating outside traditional media. Social and Search segments were collectively down for March while traditional media channels showed now change over February’s coverage. But the level of social media traction is extremely low, which is the ration of social media rating points to traditional media points.
What are his metrics telling us? His media momentum is still intact at +31% with 7 months of positive media build-up. With only 2 weeks left in the April media cycle, it’s a critical media month for the Chris Christie brand. His media performance since the scandal broke in 2013 has been consistent and supportive of his leading position amongst GOP rivals.
But most of the GOP contenders have, or will announce in April, and with a 2 month rating slide Christie can’t afford to slip any further in the media spotlight while his rivals are on firing on all media cylinders.
Let’s just say there’s a real possibility that at 85 points, Chris Christie is vulnerable to Scott Walker (80), Ted Cruz (80) and particularly Rand Paul (83). Rubio may be too far behind Christie to make up more then 10 points in April. But anythings possible and Marco Rubio’s formal announcement and the continuing negative coverage on Christie could create the media rating dynamics that puts Christie 4th or 5th after April’s numbers are tallied.