It’s still a little too soon to be thinking ahead to 2013, but many political wags are doing just that.

Those same political wags are eyeing the big chair under the Gold Dome hoping that its current resident decides not to run for re-election in 2013.

Add to that is the open-ended answer the Governor gives when asked whether or not he’ll run, causing speculation to run rampant.

So you wonder, who’d be in the running on the Democrat side either way…should the Governor decide to or not to run…(and Democrats are betting he won’t…or hoping he won’t!)

State Sen. Barbara Buono has been the least coy about her intentions, enlisting President Barack Obama’s media firm AKPD Message & Media and telling POLITICO she’s considering it “seriously with eyes wide open.”

Other possibilities are state Democratic committee chairman John Wisniewski and Assembly Leader Lou Greenwald, who said in an interview a race against Christie would be “something I’d love to do.”

“This will almost be like a presidential race, it will be in the limelight. That’s not lost on me,” said Greenwald.

And that’s just what Lou needs…the limelight…so as to show to the nation the brilliance of pronouncements he’s made in the past like needing the courage to spend.

“The good news is that there will only be two gubernatorial races in 2013 and I think Democrats around the country will look at this as an opportunity to put a stake in the ground.”

There’s also this:

The Democratic Governors Association thinks (former) Gov. Codey would be a great candidate who would match up well against Gov. Christie,” said DGA executive director Colm O’Comartun, who stressed the committee does not endorse in primaries.

Certainly does sound like a rogues gallery to me!

Couple that with the Governor’s image, despite what some have pointed out would be his Achilles heel, and it would seem to be a slam dunk that if he were to run for Governor again in 2013, we could have another 4 years (or 3 should Governor Romney not win the Presidential election this year) of sound bites to look forward to.

And the news is good, according to a recent report proclaiming him to be good for the state’s image:

according to results from the latest Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll released today.

According to Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, “New Jerseyans aren’t stupid. At some point they can admit they don’t like the guy but it’s absolutely a smart move to put him up there up front.”…referring to inviting the Governor to be the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention.

Christie’s approval ratings remain more or less the same as they were in Monmouth polls conducted in April, in February and last October — with 52 percent of adults, including 53 percent of registered voters, approving of the job he’s doing, compared with 36 percent of adults, including 35 percent of registered voters, who disapprove.

Murray said Christie has maintained a consistent approval rating even though two of his Supreme Court nominees were defeated, his tax cut plan stalled in the Legislature and the state’s unemployment rate, despite an increase in the overall number of jobs, has risen to 9.6 percent.

“It’s been pretty static, which is actually a testament to the governor’s leadership here in New Jersey,” Murray said. “Even though he’s getting fewer of his big projects through the Legislature and the state is still not out of the economic doldrums, he still gets a positive job-approval rating.”

Putting aside the bluster, ice cream cones at the shore, et. me, it seems like a slam dunk…especially given the options…wouldn’t you say?