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Poll: Christie numbers tank as scandals continue

Chris Christie’s political future looks to be in serious danger with more Americans believing the embattled New Jersey governor is lying about the bridge closure scandal than telling the truth, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.  Christie’s overall standing has taken a major hit in the survey, with just 22 percent of Americans viewing the Republican New Jersey governor favorably -- down from 33 percent in October. 

Twenty-nine percent now view Christie unfavorably, versus 17 percent a few months ago. 

NBC News and our partners at NowThisNews break down the main facts surrounding the Chris Christie bridge controversy.

Christie has denied ordering or knowing anything about the traffic jam-inducing George Washington Bridge lane closures, but 44 percent believe that Christie mostly is not telling the truth. By comparison, 42 percent say he’s mostly telling the truth. 

That’s a significant shift from an NBC/Marist poll taken earlier this month, when 44 percent of respondents said he was mostly telling the truth (compared to 33 percent who said he wasn’t). 

NBC/WSJ poll

The governor is also dealing with a second allegation – that his administration threatened to hold up Hurricane Sandy relief aid to Hoboken unless the Democratic mayor supported a private development project. 

Christie, who was recently considered a front-runner for the 2016 presidential nomination, has a lot of work to do to make up ground if he decides to run. 

Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted this poll with the Democratic firm Hart Research Associates, cautions that it’s too soon to know how these scandals ultimately affect Christie’s White House ambitions. But McInturff admits, “It changes the starting point of a national campaign.” 

Christie’s rating has taken a hit across the board, not just with Democrats. His standing among independents and Republicans is also tepid. Since October, his favorability rating fell 35 points with Democrats, 20 points with independents, and seven points with Republicans. 

Christie is also struggling with every demographic group and in nearly every region. 

The only region where his favorable ratings outweigh his negative ones is the Northeast, but even there, he’s barely above water at 31 percent favorable/30 percent unfavorable. That’s down from a very positive 42 percent favorable/16 percent unfavorable. 

With African-Americans, Christie -- who embraced President Barack Obama after Superstorm Sandy -- saw one of his largest collapses, dropping 42 points. In October, he had a 45 percent positive/6 percent negative rating with blacks. Now, it sits at 22 percent/25 percent. 

Christie’s team set out build a case for national electability during November’s election in New Jersey. And they did it by winning big. New Jersey voted for Obama by 17 points in 2012 and hasn’t voted for a Republican in the White House since 1988. But Christie beat Democratic State Sen. Barbara Buono by 22 points. 

Christie won Hispanics on Election Day, 51 percent to 45 percent. A month later, he signed New Jersey’s version of the DREAM Act into law. 

The NBC/WSJ poll finds now just 11 percent of Hispanics nationally have a positive view of Christie while 32 percent have a negative one. 

During his State of the State speech Tuesday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie denied knowledge of an intentional plan to snarl bridge traffic in September.

What’s more, an NBC/Marist poll taken on Jan. 15, in the immediate wake of released emails implicating Christie aides in the bridge scandal, found him losing ground to his chief Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. 

Christie trailed Clinton in the hypothetical match up, 50 percent to 37 percent, a 10-point shift from a month earlier when Clinton led 48 percent to 45 percent. 

There is likely more to come on the bridge scandal and more attention given with each new story. Democrats in the state have launched a full-blown investigation with subpoenas out for more emails and correspondence. 

Meanwhile, Christie will be traveling the country as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, heading to Utah, Illinois, Texas, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Connecticut over the next several months. 

The post can serve as a good way for a potential candidate to raise his profile with big donors. But Christie has already faced tough questions from those donors after his first few events following the bridge scandal. Christie’s home-state newspaper Sunday called on the governor to step down from his position at the RGA because with the scandal and his travel, running “New Jersey will take a back seat.”


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