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Polls: N.J. voters still don't believe Christie's response to Bridgegate

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N.J. voters still don't believe Christie's response to Bridgegate.
N.J. voters still don't believe Christie's response to Bridgegate. - (Governors office / Tim Larsen)

New Jersey voters are still not convinced that Gov. Chris Christie is telling the truth about his claims that he had no active role in the planning, execution or cover-up of the September lane closures at the George Washington Bridge, two new polls have found.

According to a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released Tuesday, some 49 percent of state voters do not believe Christie at all and 26 percent said they somewhat believe him. Just 22 percent reported that they fully believe Christie's explanation, the poll found.

The poll found that support for Christie on Bridgegate and other scandals that have rocked his administration are mostly split along partisan lines. Only 18 percent of Republicans reported that they do not believe Christie at all, a far cry from the 75 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of Independents that feel the same way.

"Republicans remain fairly convinced the governor has not done anything wrong," poll director and Rutgers University professor David Redlawsk said. "Even so, they are not nearly as upbeat about Christie as they were before Bridgegate. Democrats are completely dubious about all of this; whatever reservoir of goodwill Christie once had with them is simply gone."

An additional 63 percent of all voters said they do not believe the taxpayer-funded internal report exonerating Christie offered an objective assessment of the governor's role in the lane closures. Just 31 percent reported that it did.

Further illustrating that point, a new Quinnipiac University Poll released Wednesday shows that of the 96 percent of New Jersey voters that claim they're familiar with Bridgegate, an overwhelming 56 percent said the internal review was a "whitewash," compared to just 36 percent who reported it was a "legitimate investigation."

The Quinnipiac poll also found that while only 65 percent said they had heard about Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer's claims that the Christie administration threatened to withhold Hurricane Sandy aid from her city if she didn't back a politically-connected development project, some 57 percent reported that they believe Zimmer.

But while the poll also found that the majority of state voters do not believe Christie would make a good president and do not want to see him run for the office in 2016, the governor continues to maintain a positive job approval rating at 49 percent approving to 44 percent disapproving.

"But the governor's job approval stays ever so slightly on the plus side," poll assistant director Maurice Carroll said. "Voters don't think he'd be a good president and they don't want him to run. They're uncertain about his honesty and a lot still think he's a bully—but they give him high marks on leadership."

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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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