Poll: Chris Christie, Hillary Clinton are America's 'hottest politicians'

By 'hottest,' a new Quinnipiac poll means most likely to generate warm and fuzzy feelings from respondents. High score for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is something of a surprise, pollsters say.

Mel Evans/AP
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tells a story about Ilene St. John Monday, July 29, 2013, in Morristown, N.J., at a ceremony naming the Morris County clerk of the board's office after St. John.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and ex-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton are the “hottest politicians” in the United States, according to a just-released Quinnipiac University national poll.

On average, respondents rated Governor Christie, a Republican, at 53.1 degrees on a notional thermometer meant to measure the warmth and favorability of their feelings toward major US political figures. Mrs. Clinton, a Democrat, came in a tick behind, at 52.1 degrees.

“Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s score is not surprising given her lengthy political career and especially strong support among Democrats and women,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a statement. “But Gov. Christie’s rating is impressive given that his experience – less than four years as governor – pales compared to Mrs. Clinton’s résumé.”

A surprising third in the Quinnipiac survey was Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) of Massachusetts, who ranked at 49.2 degrees. President Obama was tied for fourth, at 47.6, the same hotness quotient earned by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) of New York.

Sixth was Sen. Ted Cruz (R) of Texas, at 46.8.

The lowest-ranking, coolest politicians were all congressional leaders. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi was 38.4, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell at 37.5, House Speaker John Boehner at 36.7, and Senate majority leader Sen. Harry Reid a frigid 33.8. Wow, barely above freezing.

OK, we’ve got some comments here. First, this is a clever way to rank public figures, and it gets attention in the summer, but it’s kind of a stunt. It’s like a Bruce Springsteen Christmas song. As a one-off it’s nice, but let’s not make it a habit.

Second, “hot politician” is an oxymoron to many Americans. We had to say that.

Finally, the results of this survey are squishy for all but the top figures. That’s because the percentage of respondents who said they did not have an opinion about the relative hotness of many of the listed politicians was so high.

For example, virtually all the respondents had an opinion about Mr. Obama. But 21 percent answered “do not know” when asked their hotness rating of Christie.

We’re sure Quinnipiac’s numbers are accurate. We’re just saying, how hot can you be when one-quarter of Americans don’t really know who you are?

For Senator Cruz, 60 percent of respondents answered “don’t know.” And Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) may need to get moving if he really wants to run for president. While his hotness rating was a middle-of-the-pack 45.7, a very high 78 percent of respondents said they did not know him well enough to offer an opinion.

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