Poll: Public split on Christie's involvement in NJ bridge scandal

The public is split on whether New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) was personally involved in the bridge scandal that has engulfed his administration, according to a new poll. 

A Reuters-Ipsos poll released Tuesday found 31 percent of people said they believed he was involved in the scheme to intentionally snarl traffic on the George Washington Bridge last year as political retribution on a Democratic mayor who did not endorse him. 

Another 28 percent of people believe he was not involved. However, the plurality of people polled — 41 percent — said they were unsure. 

Those numbers could reflect the public’s lack of knowledge about the incident. The poll found only 20 percent of people have followed the news “very closely.” Another 37 percent said they knew “a little bit about it.”

Forty-four percent of people said they had either never heard of the incident or had heard of it but know nothing else. 

Christie took responsibility a second time for the scandal during his State of the State address on Tuesday. Last week he expressed remorse and embarrassment at his staff’s involvement in the lane closures. He fired his deputy chief of staff, but said he had no prior knowledge of it. 

Twenty-six percent of those polled said they had a less favorable view of the governor as a result of the scandal. But 49 percent of people said their opinion had not changed, and 21 percent said they did not know. 

Of those who had heard of Christie, 35 percent of people said he would be a good Republican candidate for president. In a potential Republican primary, he held the highest rating among all potential candidates with 18 percent of the vote, narrowly edging out Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) by a single percentage point. 

Both questions were asked before the polling firm asked about the bridge scandal. 

His overall approval rating stood at 55 percent, while 45 percent of people held an unfavorable opinion of him. 

A separate poll of New Jersey voters released Monday found his approval rating had fallen in the state, and a majority believed he was involved in the incident. 

But a national Pew poll from Monday showed the public was mostly unaware of the scandal surrounding him.

The online poll surveyed 1,254 people and has a “credibility interval” of 3.2 percent.