In the first national poll for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie since the bridge scandal broke, results suggest the potential 2016 contender has lost his big selling point as the only Republican candidate to potentially defeat Hillary Clinton.
A new NBC News/Marist poll found that Christie lost ground to the former secretary of state in an early hypothetical presidential match-up, trailing her by 13 points, 50%-37%.
Last month, before revelations surfaced about the George Washington Bridge lane closures, Clinton narrowly lead Christie by three points, 48%-45% -- well within the poll's margin of error.
Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, told NBC News that Christie still might come out of this unscathed. "The numbers suggest it’s far from politically fatal for him," he said. "This is a developing story, so the extent of the damage down the road is an open proposition."
While the scandal has given Christie wider name recognition, Miringoff cautioned, "that’s maybe not the best way to introduce himself to a national audience."
The poll was conducted January 12-14 using 1,200 national adults with a 2.8% margin of error; 1,039 registered voters, plus or minus 3%; and 385 Republican voters, plus or minus 5%.