(CNN) - What if it came down Hillary Clinton vs. Chris Christie in the 2016 presidential election?
While Christie's home state of New Jersey hasn’t been carried by the GOP in a presidential election since 1988, a new poll suggests voters there would be divided between their Republican governor and Clinton in a hypothetical presidential showdown.
A Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday also indicates that nearly three-quarters of New Jersey registered voters, a record, approve of the job Christie's doing as the Garden State's governor, and more than seven in ten say he deserved to be re-elected to a second term this November.
Looking ahead to 2016, 49% of Garden State voters questioned in the poll said they would back Clinton in a possible presidential showdown, with 45% supporting Christie. The four point margin is within the survey's sampling error.
Clinton, the former first lady and senator from neighboring New York, narrowly lost out to then Sen. Barack Obama in an historic 2008 Democratic nomination battle. Clinton, who stepped down as secretary of state earlier this month, says she has no plans to run for president again, but has not ruled it out. Christie contemplated a bid for the 2012 GOP nomination, but ruled out a run. There's plenty of speculation he might run in 2016.
According to the poll, Christie would top New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo 54%-36% in a separate hypothetical 2016 matchup. Cuomo is another Democrat who is thought to have White House ambitions.
"If the 2016 presidential race shapes up to be the Battle of the Hudson, Native Son Christie tops New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the west bank of the river, but is locked in a tight race with the Empire State's favorite adopted daughter, Hillary Clinton," says Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
The survey indicates 74% of New Jersey voters give Christie a thumbs up as governor, the highest approval rating of any New Jersey governor in 17 years of Quinnipiac polling in the state.
Christie's approval rating among Garden State voters skyrocketed in a slew of polls starting in November, thanks in part to his very active response to Superstorm Sandy, which struck New Jersey in late October and caused severe damage. Seventy-one percent say he deserves re-election. And the survey indicates he leads his likely Democratic challenger, state Sen. Barbara Buono, 62%-25%, in the November showdown.
"How high is up? New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie keeps soaring. Most governors would kill for a 56% job approval rating. Republican Gov. Christie gets that from Democrats!" adds Carroll. "State Sen. Barbara Buono is going to have to introduce herself to voters; no one knows her and Christie clobbers her."
But Christie realizes those sky-high numbers could be fleeting.
"Listen, no one's unbeatable,” Christie told reporters earlier this month. “And so, the idea that somehow because you are very popular in February means you are going to be very popular in November – could be, but could not be. There will be a lot of things that will happen in between now and then that will determine that.”
New Jersey, along with Virginia, are the only two states to hold gubernatorial contests in the year after a presidential election.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted February 13-17, with, 1,149 registered voters in New Jersey questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.
I've got it, Clinton/Christi 2016. That works for me
Oh, poor Mr. Christie. Guess he didn't get the memo. Rubio is the GOP flavor of the day; the week; the month; the year; (and, I suspect) the next few years as well. All the way leading up to 2016, when Rubio will be dumped for ... well, not for Chris Christie. CNN is working the draft Sarah Palin petition as I type.
Christie's wannabe chances? Old history in the making.
"What difference does it make??" The State Dept. just issued a warning to all Americans traveling overseas. Obama knew this threat was great before the election – and so did Clinton – and they lied to get him elected. We were much safer under Bush's administration! Any Republican would be better than this !
I'll be sitting out another election if these two are on the ballot. 20 years of these freaks is enough already.
Chris Christie worked with the President after Hurricane Sandy because he actually wanted to help people (unlike Bush who didn't care about the people who suffered after Katrina) – will that cost Christie dearly with the GOP faithful? Probably so.
And in spite of his best efforts – Rubio won't make it past the Tea Party who see him merely as a temporary flavor of the month opposition to the President.
Gov Christie may not be conservative enough for Tea Party and fiscal extremists in his party.
Don't worry about Christie running for POTUS in 2016. He won't. I'm not sure if he would run for re-election as Governer. Why do I say this? Christie was a District Attorney before he won the governer's race. A Democrat won the race for Christie's former post as DA.
Once the new DA took office, dozens and dozens of unprosecuted cases of political corruption were discovered. The new DA quickly issued arrest warrants for more than 60 area politicians. The suspects were pretty much evenly split between the parties. Christie said that he was "unaware" of these unprosecuted cases. Most of the cases involved embezzlement and public officials accepting bribes. For Christie to overlook such a large volume of cases means one of two things. He was either complicit, or he was incompetent.
Christie is the strongest potential candidate the GOP has as of now. Whether they are intelligent enough to give him the nomination (at least without doing ridiculous political contortions in the primaries) is another story.
Since T-B guru Glen Beck gave gov. crispy cream a thumbs-down yesterday, i expect many of the others in the herd to follow suit and back a freak-show candidate like Rand Paul. Rubio is too moderate (ie imigration) for the extremists so his star will fade once he gets pummelled in the primaries
I hope that Christie loses in the 2013 election for governor. In the case that he wins, I hope that he understands that he isn't the state's bully but the governor. He needs to be an administrator and understand where the money is coming from and not be an ideologue about it. Cutting taxes isn't the first thing to be done. The first action is to make sure that government is running as efficiently as possible. The second step is to make sure that the people at the bottom as a group are being protected.
One good advise to GOP though you didn't ask for it. Don't waste your time by thinking either Rubio or Christie or whoever can win the coming election without thinking/solving problems first, which made you lose last Nov. 2012. If the problems continue to persist, there is no way you can win another election even if it is for 100 years to come. It is quite a common sense thought.