The George Washington Bridge scandal
appears to be harming New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie politically, according to a new poll that puts him in third place among potential 2016 presidential candidates.
Christie topped the Republican field in many public opinion polls last year, but respondents to a Washington Post-ABC News poll put the governor in third place behind Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, reports The Washington Post.
The poll, taken earlier this month from a random national sample of 1,003 adults, however, shows Republicans overall do not yet have a clear front-runner in the race, but shows Hillary Rodham Clinton has a 6 to 1 lead over other potential Democratic candidates.
The former first lady and secretary of state netted a 73 percent ranking among Democrats and liberal-leaning independents in the poll. Vice President Joe Biden trailed far behind her in the poll, receiving 12 percent of the respondents, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren gathered 8 percent.
On the Republican side, however, support levels ranged closely, from 10 percent to 20 percent among six prospective candidates. Ryan gathered 20 percent of the Republican and right-leaning independents responding to the poll, and Bush received 18 percent. Christie gathered 13 percent of the respondents. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas netted 12 percent; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul got 11 percent; and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio scored 10 percent.
Among tea party backers, Cruz received a large lead, with 28 percent, followed by Ryan at 18 percent. But Cruz only scored four percent of the votes from people who oppose the tea party movement or have no opinion about it.
Christie ranked weakest among the tea party supporters, netting six percent. Bush did well among self-identified Republicans, and Ryan marked strength among white evangelical Protestants, young voters and more moderate conservatives. Rubio was strong among Republican respondents who have college degrees.
Christie's reputation has also taken a hit among Democrats, with more now viewing him unfavorably than favorably, the poll discovered. Republicans were split on his favorability, with 43 percent having a favorable view and 33 percent unfavorable.
The public is split on the bridge-gate scandal, however. Forty-six percent of respondents consider the issue a "sign of broader problems" with Christie's leadership, but 43 percent said they think the scandal is an "isolated incident." And 57 percent of Republicans say the bridge incident is isolated, but 60 percent of Democrats said the incident is a sign of larger problems.
None of the potential candidates have officially declared their intentions. Warren says she will not run, although some liberal groups back her as an alternative to Clinton.
Clinton's ratings, though, have dropped in the year since she left the State Department. Then, 67 percent of poll respondents said they favored her. But her popularity remains as high or higher than it was when she was a New York senator.
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