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Poll: More than half in N.J. believe Christie knew about closings

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks at a press conference at the state house in Trenton, New Jersey on January 9, 2014. Christie spoke on the firing of a senior aide who was involved with forcing traffic jams in the Fort Lee area. The GOP governor said he had no knowledge of the scandal. UPI/Denis Van Tine
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks at a press conference at the state house in Trenton, New Jersey on January 9, 2014. Christie spoke on the firing of a senior aide who was involved with forcing traffic jams in the Fort Lee area. The GOP governor said he "had no knowledge" of the scandal. UPI/Denis Van Tine | License Photo

ASBURY PARK, N.J., Jan. 10 (UPI) -- More than half of likely New Jersey voters say Gov. Chris Christie should quit if he knew of his aide's bridge plan, a poll released Friday indicated.

Rasmussen Reports, in a telephone poll conducted after Christie's lengthy news conference Thursday, found 54 percent of likely voters say it is likely the Republican governor was aware of the plan for political payback before it was carried out and 56 percent said he should resign if that can be proved.

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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey closed approach lanes to the George Washington Bridge for four days in August, causing massive traffic jams in Fort Lee at the New Jersey end of the bridge, delaying school buses and even emergency vehicles. The Bergen Record published emails Wednesday between Bridget Anne Kelly, the governor's former deputy chief of staff, and Christie appointees at the Port Authority that showed she instigated the closures.

Partisan differences are large. Rasmussen found 75 percent of Democrats think Christie knew about the bridge plan, while only 46 percent of independents and 34 percent of Republicans do.

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The closings are believed to have been aimed at Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, who had refused to join some other Democratic mayors in endorsing Christie in his bid for re-election last year. Christie won in a landslide.

Seven out of 10 respondents, 71 percent, said it is likely Christie has engaged in other acts of political retaliation.

Rasmussen found 39 percent of those polled say they are less likely to vote for Christie for president if he runs in 2016 in the wake of the scandal, and 39 percent said it makes no difference. Only 14 percent said they are more likely to vote for him.

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The telephone poll of 800 likely voters was conducted Thursday evening. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.

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