EDISON - Gov. Chris Christie was back on the main stage for Tuesday’s Republican presidential candidate debate.

The governor was downgraded to the secondary debate last time around, but his poll numbers have increased, allowing him in the main debate. Recent polls show that Christie is in second place in New Hampshire among the candidates. 

A recent Monmouth University poll shows that Donald Trump is still far ahead in popularity. But with Christie gaining ground in New Hampshire, the race is far from over.

“It’s been a long slog for him, he's been doing it voter by voter, that’s why it’s taken a long time to see the results of it, but we are,” says Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University polls.

Murray says the national polls are mostly a “popularity contest” and that Trump is attracting an “anti-establishment” voter. Murray says that these voters are unlikely to actually vote in the presidential election.