The Bridge-gate controversy has dragged Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie way down in a hypothetical match-up against Democratic former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, says the latest McClatchy-Marist Poll
According to the results released on Wednesday, Clinton leads Christie by 21 percentage points, 58 percent to 37 percent, in a survey of 1,197 registered voters conducted Feb. 4-9. Four weeks ago, Clinton led Christie by only 13 points, 50 percent to 37 percent.
Christie is holding his own, however, against several potential GOP challengers, the poll finds.
Voters are split almost evenly on whether Christie is telling the truth about his role in the closing of traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge last September for political reasons.
"People are a long way from forming voting choices," said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, in New York. "But right now, Clinton is having her way with the field."
Even though Christie has made a long public apology, fired aides involved in the bridge scandal, and said he was unaware of the closings, which led to four days of massive gridlock, the negative news has affected his standing among voters surveyed.
This month, 45 percent said he was being truthful, while 47 percent said he was not. That compares with 46 percent saying they thought Christie was telling the truth last month, while 32 percent did not think so.
Clinton, meanwhile, continues to outpace potential GOP candidates. She has a 52-percent-to-44-percent edge over 2012 vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, and even tops former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee who recently ruled out a third White House run, by a margin of 53 percent to 44 percent.
She also holds double-digit leads over Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the survey finds.
Her biggest margin is over 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, 62 percent to 35 percent.
But among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents surveyed, Christie and Huckabee top the field, each with 13 percent.
Rubio holds 12 percent, and Paul and Ryan each have 9 percent. Bush and Palin each have 8 percent, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is at 7 percent among those surveyed.
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