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.
what Christie is not even the leader of the GOP. You guys are just doing this for polarization/ratings purposes. cut it out. Hillary will stomp anyone who runs.
Dear God. Who cares. People only know Christie from a carefully crafter reputation and people don't even know for sure if Hillary is running.
Christie would be the logical, rational choice for the GOP, which is exactly why the baggers won't allow him to get nominated. They will, of course, do everything they can to erode his appeal and undercut his strength and, at the convention all those bagger presidential wannabes who have lost in the primaries (meaning ALL of them) will unite to deny him the majority. Then, after several ballots, they will fall in behind one of their own true-believer zealout wacko birds and nominate him. (Sorry Sarah, you don't have a prayer even if the convention couldn't agree after 100 ballots).
"Just Asking, she was a US Senator, Secretary of State, worked for a decade at a prestigious law firm, spent 8 years in the White House, the list goes on. How bout you do some research next time before you start sputtering crap?"
He knows all that. He just thinks none of it counts because she's a Dem. Oh, and Benghazi times infinity, because freedom.
@are111 - just asking how much do the republicons Bush/Cheney charge for their speeches
Can we post this article under "it's three years away, please go find someone more relevant and interesting to blather about?" Thank you.
James, Just Asking was saying what GOOD has Hillary done? Obviously you have a skewed view of what "GOOD" is.
The media wants to line up a candidate they feel Hillary can beat. Her age and high negatives will be a problem so why not counter with Christie's temper and weight issue. Neither of these candidates will get young people to the polls. Hillary needs someone more abrasive than her and would pose as a victim when debating Christie as soon as he showed his "bully" side. A sure win for her in if we let the media pick the GOP candidate. Please choose among the younger Republicans that can deliver a Conservative message. We and the rest of America will win with that.
At this point what difference does it make?? HC
Christie or Hil-dogg will be the next potus. The gop knows Christie is their best shot and vice versa for the dems.
I think they write stupid idiot stories like this for attention, to keep people interested or something because there is no way in hell we , the real people of the real earth will be electing a republican nutjob like Christie.
Just Asking, she was a US Senator, Secretary of State, worked for a decade at a prestigious law firm, spent 8 years in the White House, the list goes on. How bout you do some research next time before you start sputtering crap?
I get tired of that too. What they don't like is that she has championed liberal causes and is a strong woman. 2 strikes already – that accounts for "nothing" apparently. Of course 10 seconds, 5 brain cells and Google will answer the question. But they don't like the answer!
If it were 48% for Clinton and 46% for Christie does anyone really believe that CNN would say DEADLOCKED? I do not . the head line would read in GIANT LETTERS with choir singing hallelujah hallelujah CLINTON BEATS THEM ALL! LOL... CNN is so Liberals biased they will have a line of reporters ready to attack Christie while giving Clinton a free pass on everything just like they did for Obama.
Frankly it's amazing Hillary polls so high. She was never more than a junior senator from NY with few accomplishments to show, her stint as Secretary of State was not particularly remarkable and had a few gaffes such as the Russia reset button gift and she took some heat on Bhengazi. At least with Christie we have a successful chief executive at the State level who has re-energized New Jersey and represents a moderation and sensibility that has frankly been lacking in the Republican party for quite some time.
The stench of Obama on her is very strong. The dark side in her is very strong. Run for President she will not. Truth and justice will win in the end. The evil Clinton empire will not prevail.
Christie, Really the Tea party won't hear of it. Better yet run him and it'll be the same disaster that's kept the republicans out of the white house the past two election cycles. Dare ya....
Hillary's the same welfare pig as is Obama. Tell you all something...if the USA can change and get rid of all these Liberal Socialists – I'll start hiring and investing in my business again. I'll stop going offshore in fear of another welfare driven tax hike. I'll take on risk and invest with the hope of actually being able to keep some of my hard earned money/success – instead of being forced to give it to the ACA and other anti-business legislation that the Dems so stupidly enacted that are making me feel this is no longer America.
How about instead of the same retreads we try and get Elizabeth Warren to run, I think she would beat them all and send a message to congress and both parties that the gig is up, she would really change Washington, because we know she is not bought by the big corporations and wall street money, every candidate in this article is bought and paid for by wall street and bug corporations from Clinton to Christie and so on, Elizabeth Warren for president 2016.
Little to do with accomplishments and capability.
Last we need is another one who coddles Wall Street. If that is your measure of "success" than Christie is your man. Hillary not far behind but not as dependent as Christie for campaign funds.
I really hope there arent Democrats foolish enough to think that Hillary would solve Obamacare's prolems. That will be a GIGANTIC error in judgement. Just know that voting for Hillary would be the equivalent of voting for Obama for a third term
Hil is old news. I know the dems are clammoring around her but really, the Bhengazi disaster and her poor choice of words in response will haunt her. Couple that with the ACA disaster and really who would vote for her. Lots of time left, I wouldn't count on Christie being the top choice within the Repulican party.
A choice between a RINO sellout or mrs sniper fire herself, with zero accomplishments. Everything she touches falls apart and Christie is a turncoat.
Christie has a better chance of getting the Democrat nomination.
NONE OF THE ABOVE!
This means nothing! Clinton will take the lead in this hypothetical poll when the GOP realizes Christie cant cater to the Tea Party faction. There is no way he is going to be able to turn ultra conservative and then bounce back to the middle for a general election.