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Poll: Despite bridge scandal, voters still see Christie as leader, not bully

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A new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday shows that New Jersey voters still overwhelmingly support the job Gov. Chris Christie is doing despite the news last week that his office was involved in the “Bridgegate” scandal.

"Christie is doing better with the public than with the news media," poll director Maurice Carroll said in the report. "His job approval has dropped from the stratosphere, but it's still double-digit positive, pretty much where he was before his Superstorm Sandy hug with President Barack Obama."

According to the poll, 55 percent of voters give Christie high performance marks compared to 38 percent disapproving of the job he's doing. While undoubtedly high, the numbers are still down from the 74 percent approval rating he enjoyed in February 2013.

As for being considered a "bully" in the wake of the scandal, the poll found that voters currently see Christie as less of a bully than ever before. Some 54 percent of voters reported that Christie was more of a leader than a bully, the poll found.

Voters also said that Christie was honest and trustworthy and cared about their needs, the poll found.

Christie has repeatedly denied having any involvement in the scandal and voters appear to believe him. The poll found that 66 percent of voters believe Christie did not order the lane closures and 50 percent say his aides acted without his knowledge.

"We stopped asking that 'bully' question 18 months ago," Carroll said. "But we tried it again and, even with all the 'Bridgegate' stories, he still scores higher as a leader than as a bully."

But if Christie did know what was going on, 33 percent of voters say he should resign and face prosecution while another 32 percent say a resignation would be sufficient. Only 27 percent say an apology would suffice.

While 49 percent of voters said the scandal hurts Christie's shot at running for president in 2016, only 7 percent feel it eliminates his chances altogether.

"Christie for President? This scandal hurts his chances, both Democrats and Republicans think," Carroll said. "But—maybe it's pride in having their governor tops on the list—many New Jerseyans think he's still up there."


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Andrew George

Andrew George

Andrew George covers the Statehouse from NJBIZ's Trenton bureau. Born and raised in N.J., Andrew has also spent time as a reporter in D.C., Texas and Pa. His email is andrewg@njbiz.com and he is @AndrGeorge on Twitter.

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