Whether you believe the main stream media killed Governor Chris Christie’s hopes to snag the 2016 GOP nomination for President, or he did himself in – one thing is clear.

The damage seems to be done.

I say, “seems to be!”

In the wake of the revelation earlier in the week that the governor’s job approval numbers are down, we find that where once there was a tie or a slight lead for the governor over presumptive presidential challenger Hillary Clinton, it’s all but evaporated.

Chris Christie’s popularity has been badly dented and Republican preferences for president look like a six-car pileup in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll. In the Democratic lane, Hillary Clinton is well-positioned for 2016 – but has seen her own popularity pull back.

Just 35 percent of Americans see Christie favorably overall, dropping from 52 percent in a Gallup poll in June, while his unfavorable score has doubled to 40 percent. He’s gone from a 32-point net positive rating last summer to a 5-point net negative now – never a comfortable place for a public figure. And he’s notably weak among strong conservatives, a core Republican group.

Clinton, for her part, is off her top popularity as well, though with far less drama and a softer landing. This poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that 58 percent of Americans see her favorably overall – a robust rating, if down from her particularly impressive 67 percent as she stepped aside as secretary of state a year ago. Most of her losses, moreover, occurred by last summer; she’s largely stabilized since.

Thirty-two percent see her “strongly” favorably, vs. 8 percent for Christie.

In a head-to-head matchup, Clinton leads Christie by 53-41 percent among registered voters, a mere 34 months before the 2016 presidential election. Clinton’s lifted to that lead by a remarkable 25-point advantage among women.

While Clinton holds a commanding lead against Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren (who’s said she’s not interested), the Republican contest looks more like… well, like a traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge.

Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, 18 percent of registered voters in this survey back Paul Ryan, the 2012 vice-presidential nominee, and the same share like Jeb Bush, he of the presidential family and two terms as governor of Florida. Christie gets 14 percent; among the rest of those tested, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio come in with 10 to 12 percent.

I’ll give you this: 2016 is still a long way off and we could be putting the cart before the horse (no pun intended); yet where once the governor looked like a formidable candidate, he seems to be in the back of the pack.

And to what (oc whom) do we owe a debt of “thanks” for that? Did the Governor bring this on himself; or did the main stream media blow stories of the GWB traffic jam out of proportion?