New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has taken his first noticeable hit from an evolving George Washington Bridge scandal, as a new poll shows that several key measures of his presidential prospects have deflated over the past few weeks.
The new Quinnipiac University poll finds former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leading Christie, 46-38, in a hypothetical 2016 presidential matchup. That’s a swing of 7 points from a month ago.
But more disconcerting for Christie are the peripheral numbers. By a 35-36 split, most voters now do not think Christie would make a good president. That’s down from a 49-31 split in November in which voters leaned toward viewing him as a potentially good president, as he cruised to a landslide re-election victory.
The “Bridgegate” scandal also looks like one that has already made a dent in the American public’s consciousness. Overall, 73% say they have heard of the burgeoning scandal that has led to two separate investigations. Of that group, 50% say the scandal damages his 2016 hopes, while 39% say it won’t make a difference.
30-four per cent of respondents say they are now less likely to vote for Christie in 2016, compared with 56% who say the controversy won’t affect their vote.
Overall, the poll provides the first significant dents in Christie’s numbers. Other surveys taken in the immediate wake of the backlash showed marginal, if any, movement.
“New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie’s 2016 presidential drive is stuck in traffic, sideswiped by Bridgegate, the George Washington Bridge traffic scandal,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a statement.
Christie was sworn into office for a second term on Tuesday amid a rash of controversy that has popped up over the past two weeks. In addition to the investigation over the George Washington Bridge lane closures, the Christie administration is under federal investigation for its use of Hurricane Sandy relief funds. And on Saturday, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer (D) alleged that the Christie administration held those relief funds “hostage” to pressure her on a development project favoured by the administration.
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