(CNN) – Colorado's gone blue the past two presidential elections, but a new poll indicates Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey leading former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical 2016 showdown for the state's nine electoral votes.
According to a Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday, 46% of Colorado voters say if the 2016 presidential election were held today, they'd back Christie if he were the GOP nominee, with 38% saying they support Clinton if she were the Democratic nominee. That's a change from August, when a Quinnipiac poll indicated Christie and Clinton, who are both seriously considering bids for the White House, basically tied.
In other possible 2016 matchups, Clinton's at 44% with Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky at 47%; Clinton and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas are deadlocked at 44%; and Clinton's at 43%, with Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin at 45%.
"The race might be hypothetical, but the lead is very real. Coloradans showing the love for Garden State Gov. Christopher Christie, who for the first time in running well ahead of Hillary Clinton," says Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Right now, Colorado voters say Gov. Christie is the only contender who would make a good president."
Earlier this month Christie won a landslide re-election to a second term as New Jersey governor.
President Barack Obama captured Colorado in his 2008 and 2012 White House victories. But the poll indicates that his approval rating among Centennial state voters is down to 36%, with nearly six in ten saying they disapprove of the job he's doing in office.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted Nov. 15-18, with 1,206 registered voters in Colorado questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.
CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report