A new national poll released today from Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind suggests that to know New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is to like him. Among likely 2016 Republican presidential candidates, Christie is the most favored among registered voters.

Governor's Office/Tim Larsen

Louisiana's Bobby Jindal registered the lowest name recognition (37%), compared with former Governor Jeb Bush of Florida (80%), former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania (79%), Christie (68%), and Rubio (56%). 55% percent of registered voters who have heard of Governor Christie view him favorably, with Rubio at 46% and Jindal of Louisiana (45%) not too far behind.

"The race for the White House is already on," says Krista Jenkins, director of the poll and professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University. "Although early, these numbers are good news for those who are already perceived favorably by a majority or near-majority of those familiar with the candidate."

More good news for Christie is his bipartisan appeal. The governor is favored by a majority of Republicans (59%), Democrats (52%), and independents (57%) alike, while the remaining GOP contenders don't have such broad support. Christie is also the only ONE who registers majority support among both men and women (53% and 57%, respectively). Rubio and Jindal score similar numbers (49% vs. 43% for Rubio; 47% vs. 44% for Jindal).

Jenkins explains, "The Governor's appeal is likely based on his call for bipartisanship during his high-profile speech at the GOP convention, as well as the praise he had for President Obama in the days after Hurricane Sandy ravaged his state. However, his delicate treatment of conservative issues such as abortion and gun control will undoubtedly prove instructive as to how long he's able to maintain bipartisan favorability."

Christie is also the only GOP contender to receive a 50 percent approval among non-whites, leading the next highest, Rubio, by 18 points.

The poll of 814 registered voters was conducted nationally by telephone with both landline and cell phones from December 10, 2012 through December 16, 2012, and has a margin of error of +/-3.4 percentage points.