Booker looks to be Dems' best bet against Christie

Thanks to his recent national television appearances on late night talk shows and the Republican National Convention, one of the country's most recognizable political silhouettes (that would be NJ Gov. Chris Christie) casts his shadow on wall behind the podium while speaking to the Southern New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Luncheon in Cherry Hill September 27, 2012. ( TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer )

Cory Booker, full-time Newark mayor and part-time hero/entrepreneur/rising Democratic star, is the Dems' best shot at stopping the self-propelled political force that is Chris Christie.

At least that's what a new Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press poll seems to indicate. 

Christie continues to bring in plus-50 percent approval ratings -- this time 55 percent approval to 36 percent disapproval among registered voters.

But he's up for re-election next year. And while 50 percent of registered voters say he deserves another term, 45 percent want someone new. Asked to assess a field of nine (!) potential challengers, Booker is the most well-known among them -- even more so than Dick Codey, the former acting governor.

Booker has a 49 percent favorabile rating, while Codey comes in at 34 percent.

Name recognition of New Jersey Democrats falls off the cliff after that. Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) comes in third, and registers a 19 percent favorable rating to 16 percent unfavorable.

“The first step in challenging an incumbent in New Jersey is to attain adequate name recognition. Right now, only Booker, Codey, and perhaps Sweeney have reached that threshold,” said Patrick Murray, the pollster who ran the survey.

Of course, we don't know if any of these guys are going to run against Christie (and we still don't know if Christie himself is going to run). And Booker and Christie are friends who have stood together on many issues, making such a bid complicated.

But if you're a deep-pocketed national Democrat petrified of a President Christie sitting in the Oval Office in January 2017, you're getting Booker on the phone right now, begging him to cut off Christie at the pass.