It’s a rare and joyous thing to find a presidential poll this far out from election day that qualifies as newsworthy, but I think this one does for two reasons. One: It’s proof of how far the Bridgegate scandal has penetrated the national consciousness. It’s one thing to find Jersey voters souring on Christie, it’s another thing to find it happening in a state that every president has won for more than 50 years.

Two: There’s no obvious reason to think Christie’s numbers will rebound dramatically before the 2016 campaign begins. He broke from the rest of the Republican pack because he responded well, and in a conspicuously nonpartisan way, to an emergency that couldn’t be blamed on one party or the other. That earned him a reservoir of goodwill from independents and Democrats. If Quinnipiac’s numbers are right, that reservoir is now depleted. What’s going to replenish it by next year? Another big fight with the unions? C’mon.

He’s at 49-36 now in Ohio against Hillary, just about where everyone else in the field is. He doesn’t even pull the best numbers among independents against her. Paul Ryan and Rand Paul each do better.

Secretary Clinton tops Gov. Christie 49 – 36 percent in an early look at the 2016 presidential race in this critical swing state. This compares to results of a November 27 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University showing Clinton at 42 percent, with Christie at 41 percent

“The George Washington Bridge is not in Ohio, but voters there seem very aware of its traffic problems – and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s traffic problems,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “When Quinnipiac University asked Ohioans in November about Gov. Christie vs. Secretary Hillary Clinton in a 2016 White House race, the two were in a dead heat and voters thought he would make a good president. Today, she enjoys a comfortable double-digit lead and voters say Christie would not be a good president.”

The killer:


He was at 44/32 on that question in late November. Now his numbers are nearly identical to Rand Paul’s (32/47) and Jeb Bush’s (33/48), and they’re a bit worse than the better-known Paul Ryan’s (36/44). He does worse than both Ryan and Paul among independents here, too. The only thing that distinguishes him from the rest of the field at the moment is that Democrats are still a bit more likely to say he’d make a good president than they are for other Republican. But even there, the gap’s no longer huge: Whereas 18 percent of Dems say so for Christie, 12 percent say so for Bush. And most other GOP candidates do better than Christie with Republicans.

What happens over the next 15 months to change any of this? He was supposed to be running on electability and persona. Increasingly it looks like he’ll be running on just persona. Exit question: Is this a coincidence, or by design?