Washington (CNN) - In a potential preview of the next presidential election, a new national poll suggests Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie would be neck and neck if the 2016 contest were held today.
But a CNN/ORC International survey released Thursday also indicates Clinton leading eight other possible Republican White House hopefuls in hypothetical general election matchups.
According to the poll, 48% of registered voters say they would support support Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, if he were the GOP nominee, with 46% saying they would back Clinton, the former secretary of state, U.S. senator, and first lady, if she captured the Democratic nomination. Christie's 2-point margin is within the survey's sampling error. The CNN poll is the third non-partisan, live operator national survey conducted this month to indicate a possible matchup between Clinton and Christie basically all tied up.
If she decides to run, Clinton would instantly become the overwhelming frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. And Christie, fresh off his landslide re-election last month as New Jersey governor, is on top of the pack in recent polls of the race for the Republican nomination.
So what's the secret of Christie's strength against Clinton?
"He performs particularly well among independents, winning nearly six in 10 in that key group," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland siad. "He also wins a majority of suburbanites and older voters, something that no other GOP hopeful [that was] tested was able to do against Clinton."
"Christie doesn't win in the Northeast, although he does hold Clinton to a bare majority there, but he has a solid edge in the Midwest while playing Clinton to a draw in the South and West," Holland said.
Not surprisingly, the survey indicates a gender gap: Christie has a 14-point lead among men but loses women to Clinton by 10 points.
Clinton leads in other 2016 showdowns
The statistical tie between the Garden State governor and the former secretary of state is pretty remarkable compared to how Christie's potential GOP rivals do against Clinton in the CNN poll at this early stage of the game.
Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the House Budget Committee chairman and 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, loses to Clinton by eight percentage points. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky trails by 13 points. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a 2008 GOP presidential candidate, is down by 15 points.
And it doesn't get any better for the GOP from there.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who ran for the nomination in the last election, is down 17 points to Clinton; freshman Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas trails by 18 points; Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Rick Santorum, a 2012 GOP presidential candidate and former senator from Pennsylvania, are 19 points behind; and former two-term Florida Gov. Jeb Bush faces a 21-point gap between himself and Clinton
One thing to remember: Surveys taken this early in a presidential cycle are often heavily influenced by name recognition.
"Keep in mind that polls taken so many years before an election have little or no predictive value," Holland said.
The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from December 16-19, with 950 registered voters nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
If Christie wins Nomination for GOP I will quit the party.
There is just something about Christie that is a miss that makes him untrustworthy.
This poll shows the national media's East Coast bias. NY senator vs NJ governor has these media types drooling, doesn't it? Chris Christie has a lot to answer to conservatives during the primary process, so it's far from certain he'll be the nominee. Hillary hasn't formally announced anything either. Give it a rest!
Hillary is a very special person that will definitely get my vote! :P
I wonder if they'll still be deadlocked when unemployment has dropped to 3.5%, the economy is heating up and the Dow hits 20K?
Christie is hated by the right wing lunatics that permeate the republican party. Very doubtful that he could win all the primaries necessary to get the nomination. All the other candidates are pretty much unelectable. If Christie doesn't win the nomination than we have four years, or more, of Clinton, which would certainly be ok.
Can we trust the Polls? The same CNN Poll and others had Mitt Romney 6 to 7 points ahead in the polls hours before the finally count of the election oops Obama won with room to spare. Now no one has entered the race except Republicans and Tea Party but already Christi is a winner. Christi's background was so bad even Mitt Romney did not want him for VP. Today even the Mayor of Fort Lee learned what happens when you don't endorse Soprano Mafia Style Chris Christi. 60% of registered Jersey voters never came out to even vote in the Governors election. What CNN means is without people having a vote it is the only way Christi can win. Now for the gamblers out there think of the Polls says Sham will win the 1973 Belmont Stakes and then you bet all your money on Secretariat to win. See who has cashed filled pockets and it sure wont be CNN Poll takers.
I can't believe anyone would vote another power hungry Clinton into office. They have more money than Romney and represent the rich.mwe have so many better choices than the Clintons. This is not a monarchy yet! The American people love name recognition so she has a good chance based on her name not her ability to lead which is disgusting!
They are deadlocked now. However, in order to get the nomination with the GOP, Christie will have to say things to get the right wing nutbags on board, that will be completely unappetizing come the general election. This is a fate the GOP has doomed itself to by inviting these crazies into their base. My prediction: no more Republican presidents for at least the next decade or longer.
and already the left is choosing the GOP AND the DNC nominations to ensure another Democrat victory.
How on earth can benghazi hillary be in the running. wow!
Well, well, well. I see that the two party Fascist system is already hard at work with their bought and paid for media making sure that the dumbed-down American sheeple believe there are only two choices-again. America's future is doomed unless....
Elizabeth Warren for President, Edward Snowden for Vice President!! Now THERE is a ticket we can TRUST!!
I wouldn't vote for either Clinton or Christie. Can we please seriously discuss dismantling this corrupt 2 party system
Are we supposed to believe that these 2 are the "choices"? How stupid does CNN think we are? That there is a difference between these 2 people which are really Obama shadowers. Nice try CNN.
CNN trying damage control now – the 2014 midterms will be a blood bath for Democrats.. Obama's approval is at 37% and FALLING.. Less than 31% of people support ObamaCare.. Democrats are turning on Obama now to try and save face.. Even the female vote is leaving Obama.. Turns out that Democrats are the anti-women party.. Truth is ugly.. but it is the truth.. We Americans will take back the Senate in 2014 and will retain control of the House as well.. Obama is a lame duck in the first year of his second term.. Great job OB!
This poll misses one major fact, which is that women comprise 53% of the voting pool and that virtually all of them will support Hillary. – How many will vote for the party that vetoed protecting women from violence? This will leave only 47% of the pool available from which the GOP can solicit voters. It is mathematically impossible to get from 47% to 54%.
I was taught in bible school years ago that "as ye sow, so shall ye reap". The GOP will shortly be given a real life example of what that means.
The problem is we the voters have actually voted yet. Neither Christie or Clinton will win in 2016 because we the American ppl are sick to death of their kind of politics.
Typical corporate establishment candidates.
The dems really need to choose Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren for their candidate.
STOP choosing the corporate candidates.
One of the biggest losers in 2013? the American public thanks to the loss of an independent media. Both the left and right have it in for their candidate. We're lost without a critical an independent media. Short and sweet....we're screwed.
Clinton would win in a landslide.Christie is a bag of hot air.All sound bite and no substance.The tea party candidates are right wing nuts.Clinton 2016.
Republicans won't nominate Christie...he's not one of the extreme right-wingers who want to ruin the country.
Uggggh. Hold nose & vote year.
We need meaningful reform in health care, excessive taxation and do not expect any of those from Mrs. Clinton or any other Republican candidate, Christie has delivered in NJ and can do on a larger scale. He is no fool and he on purpose did not run in 2013. Well we got 3 more years of speeches to hear from Mr. Obama.
Neither will win. Clinton is a lightening rod whose health is the first question mark, history, and Benghazi will doom her. Christie is a blowhard, and will rub too many middle of the road voters the wrong way. This poll is a measure of the extremes. As a Repub, I would push for a Mark Warner of VA in. Pragmatic middle of the road Dem. HE I would vote for. Obama is an extreme leftist, and so would be Clinton. Christie far right. We need the middle of the road , locally and nationally, if we ever want to fix the damage done the last
Hillary has only been a leader of people in one position, and it ended in Benghazi. Christie has led a state, a blue one albeit, and he is universally loved there. Hillary does not know how to govern. She could have run for governor to obtain the requisite experience, but she chose not to do so. She just does not have the right kind of experience