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.
Obama has a better chance of getting elected in 2016 than Hillary Clinton.
"One thing to remember: Surveys taken this early in a presidential cycle are often heavily influenced by name recognition."
Good call, which is exactly why Democrats need to start grooming more names than Clinton and Biden.
Only democrats were polled
Both would be terrible choices. Christie has RINO tendencies, and Hillary would be a continuation of Obama radical leftist policies.
What a choice! LOL!
Both are a Disgrace And They represent the Two Worst Possible choices the Good People Of The United States Could Ever Possibly make !!!
You guys are talking about the democratic primary, right?
Democrats and Republicans: if Hillary is elected, it will be Obama version 2.0. I promise it will get worse and not better. The same can be said about the next Republican candidate: it will get worse.
It's time for a third party POTUS. Now more than ever.
Dumb and Dumber.. For the record Clinton is the latter.
Good lord, CNN. Chill. Out. Wait. Wait until this race actually begins to start speculating on in. Don't start driving your own hysteria already. I understand you want clicks. And that's...that's just sad. But man....just give it a rest for a little bit ok? Spare us all.
Why is a poll "breaking news"?
CNN/ORC Poll? Isn't it a little mean to call Christie and Orc? He is more of an Ogre.
2 useless politicians in a hypothetical election wooooooooooooot
Hilary Clinton doesn't understands why this matters...
And it's three years away, and I'd be willing to bet that at least one of these people doesn't run at all.
So why is this even on CNN?
Will President Chris Christie pardon his buddy "Bernie" Madoff ?
What are friends for !
Um.......it works like this. It is Dec 26th 2013 and I am supposed to think about the first Tuesday in November of 2016? No.
Breaking news? Predictions for an election years from now?
Please tell me these aren't the best America has to offer.
Surely there must be better folks waiting in the midst?
""Keep in mind that polls taken so many years before an election have little or no predictive value," "
And the race to react as though the opposite is true begins in...3....2....1.....
316 million people in this country and that's the best they could find?
I'm not sure there's much of a difference. No matter who you vote for, we seam to get the same thing in the end. So, we can chose between a big government "D" or a big government "R". For 2016, the only difference will be net weight.
Their political ideologies are not much different.
When it comes down to just the basics your gonna let a guy who can't look after his health run the USA?