A new poll shows that a majority of New Jersey residents say Gov. Chris Christie should resign if he knew ahead of time that his staff was going to order political retribution by closing lanes to the George Washington Bridge.
A new Rasmussen telephone poll published Friday says that 56 percent of New Jersey voters polled believe Christie should resign if it is proven that he approved of retaliation against the Mayor of Fort Lee, who did not endorse Christie’s re-election bid. Just 29 percent disagree and 15 percent are not sure.
Another 54 percent believe it was at least “Somewhat Likely” that Christie was aware that the four traffic lanes to the busiest bridge in the world were being closed as political retaliation, according to the poll.
Thirty-six percent said they think it’s “Unlikely” Christie was aware beforehand and that includes 30 percent who say it’s “Very Likely” he was aware and 17 percent who said that it is “Not At All Likely,” the poll says.
Reactions to the bridge scandal fall along party lines.
In the sample of 800 people surveyed by phone Thursday night, 75 percent of Democrats think Christie was aware of the Fort Lee retaliation beforehand, compared to just 34 percent of Republicans and 46 percent of unaffiliated voters, the poll says.
Seventy-three percent of Democrats and 52 percent of unaffiliated voters who responded think Christie should resign if he was aware of the lane closures beforehand, while Republicans were split on the question at 50 percent, the poll says.
The poll suggests the incident could hamper Christie’s widely assumed presidential bid aspirations in 2016. Thirty-nine percent of all voters said they are less likely to vote for Christie in 2016 because of the Fort Lee incident, while 14 percent said they would be more likely. Another 39 percent said the troubles would have no affect on their decision, according to the poll.
A large majority of respondents – 71 percent -- said they think it’s likely some members of the governor’s staff retaliated against other political officials who did not support Christie’s re-election, with 41 percent saying they thought it was “Very Likely,’’ and just 17 percent responding that it was “Not Very Likely,’’ or “Not At All Likely,’’ the poll says.
A huge majority – 81 percent – said they agree that the staff members involved in the incident should be fired while 47 percent said they believe those staff members should also be criminally prosecuted. Just 31 percent said they disagree, according to the poll.