Poll: New Jersey Voters say Bridge-Gate Hurt Christie’s Chances in 2016

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TRENTON — Even after the bridge scandal, New Jersey voters say Gov. Chris Christie is more of a leader than a bully. But about half say Bridgegate damaged his presidential chances, according to a new poll.

The Republican governor earned one of his lowest “bully” scores since Quinnipiac University started asking the question more than three years ago. Voters say Christie is more of a leader than a bully, 54 percent to 40 percent. Democrats feel differently, saying, 56 percent to 37 percent, that he’s more bully than leader.

Democrats have labeled a Christie a bully and say he created a culture that make it OK for his allies to close lanes to the George Washington Bridge, creating an epic traffic jam in Fort Lee in September, to punish the borough’s mayor. The governor has denied any involvement.

Asked if the scandal damages Christie’s chances as a 2016 presidential contender, about 49 percent of voters who are aware of Bridgegate say ‘yes’. Another 7 percent say the scandal ends those White House chances, while 2 percent say it helps them and 38 percent say the scandal will have no impact.

“Christie for President? This scandal hurts his chances, both Democrats and Republicans think,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “But – maybe it’s pride in having their governor tops on the list – many New Jerseyans think he’s still up there.”

Quinnipiac surveyed 1,207 voters from Jan. 10 – 13. During a Jan. 9 marathon news conference that fueled national interest in the bridge scandal, Christie said, “I am not a bully.” The poll has a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.

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