01/15/2014 07:32 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Christie 'Bully' Label Fails To Stick In New Jersey, Poll Finds

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) remains popular among his state's voters, despite the "Bridgegate" scandal, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday morning.

A 51 percent majority of voters say Christie is honest and trustworthy. Only 40 percent see him as more of a bully than a leader -- a lower number than in 2012. His approval rating, which neared 70 percent last summer, has dropped to a still-solid 55 percent.

The biggest change is in Christie's fading claims to bipartisan support. In July, 51 percent of Democratic voters approved of his job performance. Today, just 36 percent do, while 55 percent of Democrats disapprove.

Nearly all the New Jersey voters polled were aware of the controversy surrounding a scheme by top Christie aides to snarl traffic by closing access lanes to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, N.J. But they are split as to how involved they believe Christie was. Although just 22 percent of voters who'd heard of the scandal thought he personally ordered the traffic jam, 41 percent thought Christie was aware of his aides' actions. If it is proven that Christie knew about the traffic jam, 65 percent of voters say, he should be removed from office.

Christie has denied any knowledge of the bridge plan.

A poll earlier this week from Monmouth University found Christie's approval rating at a similar 58 percent among voters, but noted a significant slide in his favorable rating, from 70 percent last year to 44 percent currently. Fewer than half of state residents said Christie has the right temperament to be president.

"There is now a gap between the public’s view of Christie’s job performance and his personal behavior. There has been a shift from largely positive opinion of the man to a situation where some New Jerseyans are not quite sure what to think of him," said Monmouth University polling director Patrick Murray.

Nationally, the bridge scandal has garnered only modest attention, and changed few Americans' minds about Christie. A HuffPost/YouGov poll found that his favorability rating has remained virtually unchanged in the past month.

The Quinnipiac poll surveyed 1,207 voters from Jan. 10 to Jan. 13.

Quinnipiac's Tim Malloy discusses the survey's results:



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