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.
Sure they are ! Christi is tied for the top slot
Clinton is tied with Biden for the bottom spot !
Good sound polling CNN ! Keep it up !
I don't think Hillary will even run in 2016. She hurt herself very badly when she fell, more than is being made public. She is not up to the grueling campaign process. Additionally, her hatchet-lady personality will not help her when she needs to raise money from the party donors. They already dislike her as evidenced by their flight to Obama and away from her in 2007. But I really don't think she will even run because she is just not up to it.
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. Bush and Obama failures. Why? Neither learned to work with opposition parties, in fact both were so lazy they rarely even dealt with members of either party in congress. Christie will win and hopefully Dems will find way to keep Senate in 2014 and 2016.
Any poll means so little and is meant to incite interest and make it dramatic,if for any other reason,than it's so you keep glued to the story on CNN! And for all you realists,if Hillary runs ..............HILLARY WINS EASY!
Scott Walker with Huckabee as vice president.We need a Republican take over in the Senate in 2014 first.
So... this is what happens on slow news days? You make up fake election results? What is this, preparation for the actual "election"?
Christie has a great chance in a general election.
Christie has no chance in a GOP primary.
Christie is only this high because the American people haven't vetted him yet. Romney vetted him when he was a possible candidate for VP this year, and Chubby refused to answer so many questions that he was disqualified. Read "Double Down" and mane your own decision.
Mark my words: Christie would never survive the rigors of a presidential race. He is just too out of shape and unhealthy.
Seems to me there is one and only one thing to take away from this article: CNN has completely forgotten how to journalism.
I don't agree with Glenn Beck on many things but he is right about Christie – a fat nightmare. Anyone who needs medical intervention to curb their greed for food has NO self-discipline or will power. No way can someone who needs to have an operation to lose weight ever be Presidential material
Ah, no! lol Christie would have absolutely no chance agaimst Clinton
Anyone who would vote for Hillary after the destruction Obama has wrought deserves the consequences. I've lost all faith in the American public
what exactly has hillary clinton accomplished? nothing, nada, zilch. not one accomplishment to her name. all that we do know is that two of her employees and two others were killed due to her incompetence and negligence. she has zero executive experience, just like obama. she's going to be an old hag that has already been refused by a majority of demorcats in 2008. sure, run her democrats. do you honestly think the american people are going to gamble another 8 years on somebody with zero executive and leadership abilities? obama redux?? hahahaha...
Chris Christie revealed a couple months ago that he had lap band surgery.
They're speculating that he did this because they're thinking he's going to run for president in 2016, and he couldn't unless he lost a lot of weight, and this procedure accomplishes that because it surgically pinches off your stomach so you just can't eat.
Because that’s what you want in a president, someone with absolutely no will power, someone who says ‘I can literally not contain myself.
2 people that have not even announced they are running for President...CNN has them running.
Isn't there anyone else who wants the job? Anyone?
It sounds like the poll results from the main stream media are already in and Christie has won the Republican Party nomination so why bother with the primary process.
There is no way the American people could really be stupid enough to vote for either of these 2 criminals.
If this isn't proof that US elections are rigged, nothing is.
If "polls taken so many years before an election have little or no predictive value" then why are we wasting money on doing them, and reporting them, and worrying about them?
Hillary is just one step up from Obama, and that ain't sayin much.......
Not voting again, tried it once this last cycle. Too much money corruption and extremism.
We have 3 more years of Clinton/Christie media propaganda to go. One will be elected 2016 and we'll still have to hear about them on a daily basis. ugh............
That 46% of Americans would vote for Clinton terrifies me.
Double yuck... Got some change? change? any change? And here is why our political scene has such a poor approval rating. These people are not acceptable to place in leadership rolls. Now if the media can just do a fluff job we can get one of these really bad choices accepted by all those voters who have absolutely no idea who or what they are voting for. (I work with one BTW) You know. An idiot that is oblivious to the fact that they are completely ignorant of reality and yet still shows up to vote for the flavor of the day. Just fantastic! And so we can continue on our slide to global irrelevance and homeland dysfunction. Wow. This article represents the reason our country has become more and more backwards all the time. Wait until the yuck becomes ew and we can all poll our disapproval. You people aren’t going to get the country you want by supporting these kind of political hacks. EVER!!