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 more 3rd party candidates are villified by the media and the political establishment, the more we should consider voting for them
So we are tired of the status quo...why not give Rubio or Paul a shot?
There's only one small problem: The Democrats love Hillary Clinton while the Republicans HATE Chris Christie! But other than that......
Two successful Presidents last 50 years. Reagan and Clinton. Both Governors of states where their party is often the minority party. Reagan a Republican in CA, Clinton a Democrat in Arkansas. Christie fits this mold. Why are they successful? They learn to compromise.
Christie compromise? When did that happen? Here's how Christie's so-called compromise was achieved. He sat down with his Democratic state legislature and negotiated on several issues. Amendments were added to the state budget where both sides gave something up, so that they could gain something in another amendment. The legislature passed the bill, and sent it to Gov. Christie. Once Christie got his hand on the bill, he used his line item veto to delete all of his concessions to the Democrats, while keeping all of the concessions that Democrats had given to him. Nice guy. He knows how to compromise like the best of the best.
Both would be terrible choices. Christie has RINO tendencies, and Hillary would be a continuation of Obama radical leftist policies.
Spoken like only a true right wing extremist can. Christie is conservative enough to win primaries and beat Democrats in elections. As far as Clinton and Christe are concerned, to people like this, anyone who doesn't toe the extreme hard line is a "radical leftist."
But would the Republicans actually allow a fairly rational human being, like Christie, to be their Presidential Candidate? The 2016 Republican Party may still be far too sick, twisted, and out of touch with reality to do something that reasonable.
It never ends.....yet another poll that over samples democrats by 9%....designed to "condition the public" into thinking their meme is a foregone conclusion .....capitalizing on the ignorance of most voters.
I would 100% vote for Chris Christie. He has done a remarkable job leading the state of New Jersey and after these last two administrations we really need someone to get us back on track as a nation. I feel as though he can do that.
I support hilary because her last name is clinton
Would really like to see a Christie / Ryan ticket in 2016. Good "middle" combination with a strong focus on fiscal accountability. For what it's worth, I'm an independent who wants a balanced budget, equal rights, universal healthcare, and the "right" social welfare programs. Someday...
Hillary all the way
2016 Presidential ticket, either Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton and General Powell!
Anyone who votes for a Republican/Tea Party/Third party, they are all the same.... NOT FOR THE PEOPLE!!! The Poor, the elderly, veterans, the homeless and women need to remember just what was said, done, taken away, eliminated, changed by the Republicans... You can put a different shirt on them but they are still Republicans and only for the rich and big business...
couldn't vote for a man who doesn't physically take care of himself look at the man we couldn't afford to feed them
Definitely Chris Christie between these two. Perhaps, to him, it will "make a difference!" And, if it 'a between someone a little overweight vs a liar, we'll take overweight!
I would give my vote to Hilary Clinton.
I like Christie because he is the only republican left who isn't conservative, and I hate conservatives they screw up the government with religious bull crap. I like the democrats ideals but but I am still an independent.
There is absolutely no ? I would support and vote for Hillary.
Could not vote for someone who was in charge of a department that did not send requested protection and thus allowed their subordinates to be killed.
Long long long way from 2016. The 24/7 news cycle can poll now but it will the poll 2 weeks out at most of 2016 Nov vote that matters. I have my doubts as well as Dems most likely will run Hillary but GOP is still in a 3 way civil war. The TEAParty is in it to the death so what the GOP will run is still very much up in the air. The GOP tried the all lets just back moderate Romney strategy but that didn't work out well and just left the TEA more angry. Until the GOP solves the 3 way civil war this poll is pointless.
Our family vote is for Hilary Clinton, is about time that this great Nation will elect a woman for President.
Miss clinton friend to the world. is realy good for America and the world to have miss clinton has president of U.S.A?that is my dream and my God will answer to that!
Republican, democrat it doesn't matter neither party will represent the American people the way they are suppose to. Americans are in a no win situation . It's all about what's best for them not. we the people.
Hilary would get my vote, hands down. As former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary-Of-State she is ridiculously qualified. I share her views and the country is finally ready for a woman president! Go Hilary!
Bill, Hilary Clinton did not "fail" to send support to that embassy: the funding was cut basically by the Tea Party.