HAMDEN, Conn., April 9 (UPI) -- More than half New Jersey voters believe the internal review that cleared Gov. Chris Christie in "Bridgegate" was a "whitewash," a poll released Wednesday said.
The survey by the Polling Institute at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut found that 96 percent of respondents said they had heard something about the scandal.
More than half, 56 percent, agreed that it is a "whitewash" and only 36 percent said it is a legitimate investigation.
But the poll also found voters divided on the investigation led by Democratic state legislators with 46 percent saying it is legitimate and the same agreeing it is a "political witch hunt."
Voters are also split on whether Christie is a bully with 48 percent coming down on either side.
Christie, considered a top contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, won re-election last year with more than 60 percent of the vote, beating a little-known Democrat by 22 percentage points. But his reputation has been tarnished by the revelation that a top aide apparently participated in an act of political payback -- lane closings on approaches to the George Washington Bridge that caused four days of traffic jams in Fort Lee, N.J., in September 2013.
More than half, 57 percent of respondents, said they believe Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who says the Christie administration threatened to withhold aid after the town was battered by Hurricane Sandy unless she backed a development project favored by the governor. Four out of five people who believe Zimmer say the governor knew about the pressure and 68 percent say he ordered it.
The poll also found respondents do not believe Christie would be a good president by a 57-35 margin. Approval of Christie's job performance has also dipped, although 49 percent still say he is going a good job while 44 percent disagree.
"Voters don't think he'd be a good president and they don't want him to run," Maurice Carroll, the poll's assistant director, said. "They're uncertain about his honesty and a lot still think he's a bully -- but they give him high marks on leadership."
Quinnipiac surveyed 1,356 New Jersey voters between April 2 and April 7. The margin of error is 2.7 points.