Poll: Before bridge scandal, Christie ranked as 'hottest' politician

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is the “hottest” politician in the country, according to a new poll taken before the scandal surrounding a New Jersey bridge closure broke into the open Wednesday. 

Christie ranked highest on Quinnipiac University’s feeling thermometer, released Thursday, with a 55.5 percent rating. 

The survey measured the public’s receptiveness to a number of political leaders using a scale from zero to 100, with the higher number representing “the warmer or more favorable” voters felt about a lawmaker. 

The New Jersey governor, seen as a potential candidate for president, also ranked at the top of the list when the polling firm did a similar survey last August. At that time, his rating stood at 53.1 percent. 

The poll was conducted Jan. 4-7 among 1,487 registered voters. It has a 2.3 percent margin of error. 

Christie is facing a firestorm after emails released Wednesday link a top aide to the governor to the closure of lanes on the state's George Washington Bridge last year. Critics have alleged the closure was political retribution on a Democratic mayor in the area who declined to endorse the governor’s reelection bid. 

Christie fired his deputy chief of staff on Thursday, saying he was "embarrassed and humiliated" by her conduct in regard to the closure. 

It is unclear how the controversy will affect his poll numbers. 

Hillary Clinton, who ranked second on the list in August, dropped down to seventh place with a 48.5 percent rating. Her number fell from 52.1 percent last year. However, she continues to top the list among Democrats (77.2 percent). 

Among Republicans, Christie drops down to 10th place on the list with a score of 58.6 percent. 

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) ranks first among Republicans, with a rating of 75 percent. He also ranks second on the list overall.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) rounds out the top three most favorable politicians overall with a 50.7 percent rating. 

Other potential GOP presidential candidates rank lower down on the list, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (49.6 percent), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (49.2 percent), Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (47.1 percent), Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (47.1 percent), Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan (46.7 percent), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (45.1 percent) and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (43.9 percent).

Vice President Biden ranks 13th on the list, with a rating of 43.7 percent. 

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