The national spotlight on Chris Christie as a result of the "bridgegate" scandal is now hurting the New Jersey governor's national ratings, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll shows. But among fellow Republicans, Christie's ratings are almost entirely unchanged.
Forty-five percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Christie, while 34 percent have a favorable opinion. In an earlier HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted in January, only 34 percent said that they had an unfavorable view of the New Jersey governor, while 38 percent had a favorable view.
The January poll was conducted shortly after emails revealed that Christie's staff had intentionally directed major lane closures at the George Washington Bridge as payback against the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J. That survey found little change in Christie's ratings compared with surveys conducted before the scandal came to light.
The dip in Christie's ratings since January has occurred almost entirely among independents and Democrats, however, while opinion among Republicans is largely unchanged. Currently, 51 percent of Republicans say they have a favorable opinion of Christie, while 33 percent say they have an unfavorable opinion. In January, Republicans said they had a favorable opinion of Christie by a nearly identical 50 percent to 29 percent margin.
As of the most recent poll, 10 percent of Republicans say they will definitely support Christie in the 2016 Republican primaries, while another 32 percent say they will consider supporting him and 26 percent say they won't consider supporting him -- again, unchanged since the January poll. Another 28 percent say it's too soon to say.
The latest poll also found an increasing percentage of Americans say Christie is lying when he claims he didn't know about his staff's involvement in causing the bridge traffic, up from 25 percent in the January poll to 36 percent now. Twenty-eight percent of respondents in the new poll say they think Christie is telling the truth, similar to the 26 percent who said so in January. And 54 percent say they've heard a lot about the bridge scandal, up from 43 percent in January.
Republicans, though, are far more likely to believe Christie than think he is lying, by a 48 percent to 19 percent margin.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted March 29-31 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.