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New Jerseyans giving Christie benefit of the doubt

The people of New Jersey are inclined to believe Gov. Chris Christie (R) when he says he wasn't involved in the plot to create a traffic jam in Fort Lee, N.J., according to a new poll.

The Quinnipiac University poll shows just 22 percent of people think Christie personally ordered the traffic jam, and 41 percent think he was aware of it.

About two-thirds (66 percent) think he didn't order the jam, and half (50 percent) say they believe his aides acted alone, as Christie has contended.

The polling is the latest to suggest Christie has paid a modest price for the scandal, but that he remains a popular governor. A Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press poll earlier this week had similar findings.

The new poll shows 55 percent of New Jerseyans approve of Christie, while 38 percent disapprove. That's his lowest approval rating since before his response to Superstorm Sandy made him one of the nation's highest-rated governors, but still strong territory for an elected official.

Of course, Christie's popularity will ultimately depend upon whether there is any evidence implicating Christie in the plot. But the poll suggests voters are generally willing to give Christie the benefit of the doubt, which should help him going forward.

It shows a majority -- 51 percent -- of New Jerseyans still see Christie as honest and trustworthy, while 41 percent do not. They also see him as more of a "leader" (54 percent) than a "bully" (40 percent), despite the scandal rehashing questions about Christie's governing style.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.



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