On Monday, Pew Research released its latest poll and it is only going from bad to worse for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Compared to last year at this time, twice as many people around the country now have a negative view of the embattled Republican. Last January, shortly after Superstorm Sandy, only 17% of Americans had an unfavorable view of Christie, compared to 40% with a favorable view and 42% with no opinion. Fast forward to this month, and now 34% have a negative view, with 28% with no opinion and 38% saying they see him in a favorable light.
However, the most troubling part of the poll for Christie and his 2016 Presidential ambitions is whether people believe him on Bridgegate. According to the poll, the vast majority of Americans feel he is being untruthful about his knowledge of the lane closures that crippled the town of Ft. Lee, New Jersey for days this past September. Of those who are aware of the story, 58% say they do not believe Christie, while 32% say they do. Democrats overwhelmingly don’t find the governor truthful on the matter, with 67% saying he is lying. Independents also have a hard time believing him, as 60% feel his version of the events are false. Even Republicans are somewhat split, with 48% saying he is telling the truth compared to 42% saying he isn’t.
In recent polls, there were still a majority of people who were aware of Bridgegate that felt that Christie had been truthful about his involvement. However, with more and more information coming out everyday, Christie’s credibility is taking a major hit. With this poll, he is showing a net negative of 26 points on his truthfulness. That is now a huge gap that may actually widen before it is all said and done. As much as he wished that it would all go away after doing a press conference and ‘apologizing’, the fact is that this story is going to be tied around his neck like an anchor.
Christie’s appeal for a general election was supposed to be that he’d appeal to Democrats and Independents more so than the average GOP candidate. Yet, in this latest poll, he saw huge unfortunate gains in unpopularity among Dems (+25%) and Independents (+18%.) That isn’t going to win you a general election. He is now nothing more than just another Republican that will struggle to appeal to uncommitted and moderate voters with hopes that he can get a huge turnout form a gradually shrinking GOP base.