Most N.J. voters don’t think Christie ordered bridge traffic jam

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivers his State Of The State address at the Statehouse, Jan. 14, 2014, in Trenton, N.J.
Julio Cortez/AP

Two-thirds of New Jersey voters who have heard about the George Washington bridge scandal don’t believe that Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., personally ordered the lane closure that caused a major traffic jam, according to a new Quinnipiac poll.

As many as 93 percent of voters in the Garden State have heard something about the controversy, according to the poll, conducted Jan. 10-13. Of those voters, 66 percent said the governor did not personally order the traffic jam, while 22 percent say thought he did. Even 53 percent of Democrats said that Christie was not involved.

More voters, 41 percent, thought that Christie at least knew that what his aides were doing, while 50 percent thought the aides acted without his knowledge.

The poll has a 2.8 percent margin of error.

Documents released so far show that Christie’s aides and government allies partially closed the George Washington Bridge in an apparent act of political retribution against Fort Lee’s Democratic Mayor, Mark Sokolich.

 Christie apologized for the incident last week, insisting in a lengthy press conference that he had no prior knowledge of the seemingly-deliberate plans to back up traffic. However, as New Jersey Democrats investigate the incident more documents are likely to be released, making it unclear how the scandal will unfold. 

In his “state of the state” address on Tuesday, the embattled governor said the scandal “does not define” New Jersey, stressing the state’s bipartisan achievements. The governor also promised better leadership.

“I am the leader of this state and its people and I stand here today proud to be both.  And always determined to do better,” he said.

If Christie did order the traffic jam or knew what his aides were doing, 33 percent of voters who were familiar with the issue told Quinnipiac that he should be removed from office and prosecuted on criminal charges. Another 32 percent said he should just be removed from office, while 27 percent said an apology is enough.

Fifty-four percent of voters still think Christie is more of a leader than a bully, while 51 percent said they think he is honest and trustworthy. As many as 74 percent of New Jersey voters said he is a strong leader, and 55 percent said they approve of the job he is doing.