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Chris Christie's approval rating in New Jersey at record low, poll finds

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie holds a town hall meeting at Londonderry Lion's Club April 15, 2015 in Londonderry, New Hampshire.

Darren McCollester, Getty Images

Chris Christie just can't seem to catch a break.

Among the GOP's most promising potential 2016 candidates, Christie has seen his presidential thunder stolen in recent weeks by some other rising stars in the party. And now comes a poll from Quinnipiac University showing the New Jersey governor with the lowest job approval ratings of his tenure.

Only 38 percent of voters said they approve of Christie's performance in the poll released Monday. Fifty-six percent said they disapprove.

Sixty-five percent of New Jersey voters said he would not be a good president, and 64 percent suggested he shouldn't even launch a bid. Christie hasn't formally declared anything - he's said he'll decide one way or another this summer - but 55 percent of voters said the presidential race is distracting him from his day job. Seventy percent said he should resign if he does ultimately run for president.

"The governor's job approval hits a new low and voters think his presidential ambitions are distracting him from his day job. Besides, they don't think he'd be a good president," summarized the Quinnipiac polling institute's assistant director, Maurice Carroll.

The poll also suggests that Christie has still not recovered from Bridgegate - the shorthand for the scandal that ensued after it was reported that several Christie aides and appointees shut down access lanes to the George Washington Bridge to cause an enormous traffic jam and punish a local mayor who'd declined to endorse the governor's 2013 reelection bid.

Christie has dismissed the staffers who were involved, and he's said he was not aware of their scheme until the first news reports. But New Jersey voters aren't buying it.

Fifty-seven percent told Quinnipiac they believe Christie did not personally order the traffic jam, but 53 percent said he had prior knowledge of it.

"Did Gov. Christopher Christie cause Bridgegate? Most voters say no," explained Carroll. "Did he know about it? Most think he did."

While the poll says New Jersey voters are down on Christie for his performance as governor and for his presidential aspirations, Christie nonetheless wins a hypothetical Republican presidential primary in New Jersey, carrying 22 percent of the vote, according to Quinnipiac. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are trailing him at 14 and 12 percent, respectively.

But the Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, trounced Christie in a general election matchup, 51 to 36 percent.

"New Jersey loves Hillary Clinton for president," Carroll said. "She...trounces Christie and all the other Republicans. She scores better than 50 percent against all of them; they're in the 30s." The state has been reliably Democratic for the last six presidential elections, last voting Republican in 1988, when it supported George H.W. Bush.

The poll surveyed 1,428 New Jersey voters from April 4-19. Results compiled from the full carry a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percent