Poll: Christie continues to top GOP field in NH

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) remains the front-runner for the 2016 Republican nomination in the early primary state of New Hampshire, a new poll shows. 

Twenty-four percent of the Republican primary voters surveyed in New Hampshire chose Christie as their favorite for the presidential nomination.

He ranks 12 points ahead of his closest rival, even as the scandal surrounding a bridge closure last year plagues his administration, according to the survey by the Democrat-affiliated Public Policy Polling released Thursday. 

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Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tie for second place with 12 percent, respectively. Another 11 percent of voters would like to see former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee as their nominee. 

No other candidate received more than 10 percent of the vote, and 13 percent said they would either vote for someone else or were not sure. 

Christie had a 53 percent favorability rating in the state. The only other potential GOP candidate who tops him is Paul, who is rated favorably by 56 percent of Republicans. 

The poll found 89 percent of GOP primary voters had heard about the bridge scandal, while 68 percent had heard a lot about it. 

Christie has apologized and fired a top staffer after emails revealed his deputy chief of staff was involved in the closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge in apparent retribution against a mayor who did not endorse Christie. The governor has denied he knew about his staff’s involvement as the state Legislature and the U.S. attorney's office in the state have been reviewing the incident. 

In a general election, Hillary Clinton continues to lead the field of Republicans, beating out Christie in a head-to-head match-up by 4 points. Forty-three percent would choose Clinton compared to 39 percent who side with Christie, largely unchanged from last year.  

The automated poll surveyed 528 Republican primary voters over the weekend and has a 4.3 percentage point margin or error. The poll of the general election polled 1,354 voters and has a 2.7-point margin of error. 

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