TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Two recent polls show a traffic jam scandal taking a toll on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie‘s popularity and national political ambitions.
A Rutgers-Eagleton poll released Wednesday shows the governor’s job performance and approval rating dipping, even before new allegations that his administration threatened to withhold Hoboken’s superstorm Sandy recovery aid unless the mayor signed off on a politically connected building project. Christie’s favorability rating is at 46 percent — down from 65 percent just before his landslide re-election victory in November.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday found a third of respondents less likely to vote for Christie for president. That’s due to allegations his staff created traffic jams in Fort Lee as political payback after Democratic Mayor Mark Sokolich declined to endorse Christie in his re-election bid.
The Rutgers poll was taken from Jan. 14-19, with a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.
The Quinnipiac survey was taken Jan. 15-19 and has an error margin of 3.5 percentage points. The poll shows that Christie has lost his front-runner status for the Republican presidential nomination. Twelve percent of respondents said they support Christie, behind Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who each had 13 percent. On Dec. 11, Christie had 17 percent of the support — three percentage points more than any other potential candidate.
Emails have revealed that high-ranking officials in Christie’s administrations ordered the Fort Lee traffic jams, which occurred over four days in September. Christie denied having any knowledge of the events and has since fired his deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, and cut ties with campaign adviser Bill Stepien. Port Authority officials David Wildstein and Bill Baroni also resigned since the scandal surfaced.
In an interview Saturday on MSNBC, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer accused Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno of threatening to withhold Sandy aid money unless the mayor approved a redevelopment project. Guadagno has denied the accusation.
As a result of the allegations, Christie’s administration is the subject of a number of investigations.
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