Gov. Chris Christie had a tough couple weeks by most people's standards. Or did he?
If one major scandal — Bridgegate — wasn't enough, it became known this week that federal auditors are investigating the Christie administration's use of emergency relief funds on #StrongerthantheStorm commercials.
But none of that apparently matters in the speculative world of oddsmaking.
One of the leading online betting sites, William Hill, currently has Christie as the Republican frontrunner — by a nose — at 9 to 2 odds for the GOP nomination in 2016. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is right behind at 5 to 1.
Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, is the prohibitive favorite on the Democratic side. The betting side pegs her as a 10 to 11 favorite, meaning that if you bet $11 you'd only make a profit of $10 if she won (and if you bet $10, you'd gross about $19). Interestingly, another woman, Massachusetts' U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, is getting the next best odds among Democratic contenders at 9 to 1.
Beyond betting, pollsters also declared Wednesday that the Bridgegate scandal, which is far from over as New Jersey lawmakers promise to convene special hearings on the lane closures in Fort Lee, has not devastated the Christie political brand.
A Quinnapiac University poll found Christie still enjoys an approval rating of 55 percent — though that is much lower than his sky-high approval rating of 73 percent early last year.
And the poll also found a majority of both Republicans and Democrats who have read about the bridge scandal believe Christie didn't personally order the unannounced closure of lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge.
"Christie is doing better with the pubic than with the news media,” Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, told the Inquirer. “His job approval has dropped from the stratosphere, but it's still double-digit positive, pretty much where he was before his Superstorm Sandy hug with President Barack Obama.”