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.
The low info voters would elect Mickey Mouse if they could.
CNN-poll 2016: no better than the weather forecast for the next 14 days...
Christie doesn't have a shot. This Republican party will never pick someone who is a moderate...unless they kiss their butt and show how fake they are like the last guy.
Hillary....liar, liar pantsuit on fire.
Now that the media h has picked candidates, they can pick the winners. Save us time.
A poll Two years out is just STUPID ! There are a ton of things that will happen between that time ! Oh BTW neither has announced their candidacy ! We haven't even had midterm elections yet and they are taking polls on possible nominees two years out ! Pure nonsense !
What matters is how Christie polls among Republicans voters when put up against other potential Republican candidates. He has to win the GOP nomination first and right now he's polling VERY badly compared to other likely candidates. Independent voters may like him but conservatives DON'T. He needs independents to win the general but needs conservatives to win the nomination and right now they would rather vote for Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio or even Rick freakin Perry.
Whoa, 900 some odd people, that really gives me an idea. Most of these slobs don't know the difference between the two, starting with their anatomy. Christie just has more of it. Cue drum roll.
One thing. This is a CNN poll. So the liberals who follow CNN as if it is the gospel, have decided that Christy will be the Republican frontrunner. Christy, who is a member of the Republican branch of the Democratic party.
How sad is the GOP if they have trouble with Hillary.
This reminds me of all the polls predicting how Myth would win, and watching from my window as he left Boston convention center with his tail furmly embedded in his behind. :)
after 8 years of seeing what the democrats want to do to this country nobody wants hillary clinton or warren,and all christie is just a rino,we need a republican with libertarian leanings to put this country back together,and cruz will have some off the same problems that obama had,not enough knowledge of this country to be it's leader..the gov. of texas would be good,or walker also might be able to get the job done...
after 8 years of seeing what a liberal democrat wants to do to this country we need a republican with libertarian leanings.cruz would have some of the same problems as obama,he,his family,hasn't lived long enough in this country to really understand it.. and christie is just a democrat with the republican label..perry might be good,walker also..but clinton? i thought we were against monarchs in this country?
Please support Chris Christie for President , he's a compassionate man who will pardon those unfortunate to defend themselves like "Bernie" Madoff is an American convicted of fraud and a former stockbroker, investment advisor, and financier. Chris Christie worked to remove securities fraud from a consumer fraud act on behalf of an organization run by Bernie Madoff.
You people start pushing your candidates before the biggest loser in history is two years into his second term. Hillary and Christie are so far up Obama's butt they can't see daylight..You talk about losers Christie slobbering all over Obummer and Hillary letting our people die in Benghazi, you are dreaming...
The American people don't want either of these sell out pigs.
whoppeee.. we are going to have another billions $$$ election in 2016 with dumb and dumber candidates to waste time voting on.
Can was please stop scrapping the bottom of the gene pool for fools to run this dieing country?
I am so tired of being offered bottom feeders for presidents.
HillaryClinton-ChrisChristie vs RonPaul-RandPaul 2016!!!
Again, again, again, again: it's way too early, calm yourself until at least after next year.
Electing Hillary after eight years of Obama would be like electing McCain after eight years of Bush Jr.
Warren/Sherrod Brown 2016.
And at this point 8 years ago, then-Sen Obama was lumped in with the "Others" category.
Let's have people decide between someone who has never participated in a presidential candidate debate and someone who last participated in a debate in 2008! You're asking people whether they're Democrat or Republican, the issues in this
"stage of the election" don't even have official backing yet. Last time Hillary didn't support gay marriage, this time she will, things will be different eight years later but let's just wait until then to start deciding who we want as our president.
A little premature don't ya think!!!! Personally I'd prefer different choices but neither of the aforementioned. I think Christie would try to do his best but would be in way over his head and Clinton is just another self-serving snake in the grass.
LOL I'm torn! On the one hand, I don't think I could stand 4 more years democrats in the WH. On the other hand, seeing the look on Hannity's face if Clinton won, might be worth it. hmmm Glad I have time to think about it,.