Nine percent chose Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), 8 percent chose Mitt Romney, 7 percent picked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), 4 percent chose Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and 4 percent picked Sarah Palin.
Independents and Democrats see Christie as the leader of the Republican Party, however. Twenty-three percent of Democrats chose Christie, while 10 percent went with Cruz. Twenty-five percent of Independents chose Christie and 17 percent picked Cruz.
The poll also found that Democrats are faring better than Republicans in general ahead of the 2014 midterm election. Democrats lead the GOP 44 percent to 38 percent on a generic ballot. Forty percent viewed congressional Democrats favorably, 33 points higher than congressional Republicans, who had a 23 percent favorability rating.
Eighty-seven percent disapproved of Congress overall, and 50 percent disapproved of President Obama.
PPP surveyed 649 voters via phone Oct. 29-32 with a margin of error plus or minus 3.8 percent.