A new NBC News/Marist Poll released Wednesday shows that within a month's time, Democrat Hillary Clinton has significantly increased her lead over Gov. Chris Christie in a hypothetical 2016 presidential race.
In December, the same poll indicated that Christie was just three percentage points behind Clinton, trailing 45 percent to her 48 percent. But in Wednesday's report, Clinton now leads Christie by 13 percentage points, 50 percent to 37 percent.
While it's unclear if Christie's drop-off is a result of the widening George Washington Bridge scandal that has engulfed his office, questions still linger over his ability to push through it.
"The question is can Chris Christie weather this political storm, or is this another in a list of considerable hurdles he will need to overcome if he wants to make a run for the White House," Marist College Institute for Public Opinion director Lee Miringoff said.
Christie has also been unable to widen his lead over other Republican 2016 hopefuls in the past month. Though still considered the frontrunner, his lead over U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the next closest challenger, has dwindled from six percentage points to four in the past month.
The poll shows that 69 percent of Americans say that the scandal had no impact on their opinions of Christie, despite the numbers against Clinton and other Republican Rivals. Only 24 percent reported that their dislike for Christie has increased as a result of the scandal.
An additional 44 percent, representing a majority on the issue, believe Christie is telling the truth over his claims that he had no knowledge of the lane closures or his office's involvement.
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