Bridge scandal has barely changed public's opinion of Christie

Nearly 70 percent of people say the recent bridge scandal plaguing Chris Christie’s administration has not changed their perception of him, a new poll suggests. 

Eighteen percent of the public, by contrast, say the situation has made them like the governor less, according to an NBC News/Marist poll. Five percent say they like Gov. Christie (R-N.J.) even more now. 

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“The numbers suggest it’s far from politically fatal for him,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “This is a developing story, so the extent of the damage down the road is an open proposition.” 

Less than half, 44 percent, say Christie has been telling the truth. Over the last week, he has denied being aware of the four-day traffic jam his close aides planned on the George Washington Bridge in September in an act of political retaliation.

Broken down by party affiliation, 61 percent of Republicans say he’s been honest and 41 percent of Democrats say Christie has not been truthful. 

Though a majority of those surveyed say the scandal hasn’t changed their minds about Christie, it has hurt him in a hypothetical presidential race in 2016 against Hillary Clinton. 

The poll indicates Christie now trails Clinton by 13 points, 50 to 37 percent in such a match-up.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday morning indicates 55 percent rate Christie as a strong leader compared to 40 percent who regard him as a bully. 

Christie’s second inauguration is scheduled for next Tuesday.