Christie narrowly leads in new 2016 GOP poll

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is in a statistical dead heat for the GOP presidential nomination with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), according to a new poll.

A Fox News poll released Wednesday night found Christie pulling in 15 percent in a potential GOP primary. Bush and Paul each bring in 14 percent.

Christie's position is largely unchanged since the last time Fox polled the question in late December when the New Jersey governor garnered 16 percent.

Since then, he has faced questions about his involvement in the closures of toll lanes on the George Washington Bridge last year, which were closed down in an apparent act of political retribution against a local mayor who did not endorse Christie's reeelction bid. 

Christie fired his deputy chief of staff after emails were released suggesting her involvement, but he has maintained he had no prior knowledge of the closure. An internal probe launched by lawyers hired by Christie found no evidence that he was involved. 

His favorable rating stands at 36 percent, while 38 percent see him as unfavorable. Eleven percent could not say, while 15 percent of those polled had never heard of him. 

No other potential GOP candidate brings in double digits in the potential primary, including Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan (9 percent), Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (8 percent), Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (7 percent), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (5 percent), or former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (5 percent).

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was not included in the poll. He has either led or been near the top of the pack in other recent polling. 

On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continued to dominate Vice President Biden in a hypothetical primary, 69 percent to 14 percent. 

If Clinton and Bush advance to the general election in 2016, 42 percent of voters would see both parties as controlled by "family dynasties," while 36 percent would see the candidates as "strong alternatives."

The poll surveyed 1,012 registered voters, including 395 Democrats and 384 Republicans. It has a 5-percentage-point margin of error. 


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