Yes, Chris Christie is a viable presidential candidate for 2016. Ignore anyone who compares him to Rudy Giuliani; that’s totally the wrong comparison. Is he a frontrunner? It’s too early to tell, but Christie boosters need to explain how he gets around some pretty serious obstacles.
The basic way to assess presidential candidates, this far out, is whether they meet basic tests for viability. It’s no exact science, but viable candidates must have conventional qualifications and fall within the mainstream of their party on most issues of public policy. Fail one or the other, and as candidates from Michele Bachmann (Member of the House) to Gary Johnson (out of the mainstream) to Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich (both!) have discovered, you’ll get nowhere near the Oval Office.
Christie, assuming he is re-elected, easily meets the first test, and he almost certainly meets the second one. After all, candidates don’t have to have a perfect record of supporting every party position from birth; they only need to be close enough to the broad mainstream that when there are differences, they can find ways to have convincing conversions (as candidates from George H.W. Bush to Al Gore to Mitt Romney have had on abortion) or to at least fudge the issue (as Romney did on guns and LGBT issues).
So Christie is no Giuliani.