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.
YOu should be ashamed of yourself....Miss Hillary has represented this country during crisis after crisis and has performed with an unblemished record. Please step aside, and this lady guide the US to new glories...!!!
Yes, Mr. Chrisite is a big guy, but is he right guy...????
I think U know the answer
Neither of them will make it past their respective primaries.
And yet still no accomplishments.
It doesn't really matter what the polls say. Neither of them will get past their respective primaries.
Terrific, a real race! Won't matter anyway, because Christie can't get nominated, so Hillary will be running against Rick Santorum or someone and it won't even be close...
It will remain like this until Christy has to open his mouth – Either he won't get the GOP nomination or he'll turn moderates off taking a "RIGHT" position.
Pretty meaningless poll given the election will not be held for another 1048 days.
I dont like Christie... He lied about Bridge controversy... He can't win south. Also I don't like Clinton. I Want Warren...
You know that the Democrats are seriously worried about Chris Christie, when That Hayes Nerd and Rachael Madcow do three nights in a row about what an evil corrupt guy he is. When Hillary gets really nervous, they'll drag out the fat jokes. Here is a Governor that can run on his success for this state vs a first wife/ short term jr Senator/ and failed Secr of State. She has less than No record. #Benghazi #blood on your hands
Vote no on both!!!
Thanks for making my choice easy. I will not vote for a bully!
Yea sure they are, I Ike cristi but the idiot GOP will wreck him in the primaries and Hillary will be our next president in spite of the GOP ongoing attempt to rig the electoral college in their favor. The GOP should be outlawed, and we are watching you GOP!!!!!!
I'm an independent and there is no way I would ever vote for Christie. He's a bully.
James, she is a snob! So who cares what she has done!
Once again... The media has chosen who they want as president. Neither of these people are even on the ballet yet!
It's 2013, more likely than not neither of them will be president.
The notion of running a conservative Republican would solve the GOP's national woes is a fantasy. The vast majority of voters don't want a conservative Republican in the White House. Without controlling Congress very little of any president's agenda will ever see the light of day.
It's only the end of 2013! Refresh my memory; where was Jimmy Carter in the polls at the end of 1973, or Bill Clinton at the end of 1989?
Besides, didn't we go through this, "We'll, I'm only kinda sorta possibly thinking about considering it" with Hillary before she ran for Senate?
I can't believe this even close. who in their right mind would vote for that hag? she left the people in Benghazi to die then lied about it then said what does it matter. how can you trust a person like that? oh wait it doesn't matter as long as you get your government check right? the country has never been is worse shape and we have hillary to look forward to.
There is no doubt that she has a good résumé.. But she has more strings coming out of her limbs that Pinocchio. She has spent too much time as a public official and is corrupt to the bone. Our economy will just continue on the same destruction if she were to be elected. I am not for republican either.
THIS COUNTRY HAS NOT PUT OUT A TRUE PRESIDENT SINCE ITS CREATION.
Sure, Christie, Hillary, Bill, George Bush, Obomba, they're all the same. They all sell out to power in order
to even run for the job. I remember when Obomba defeated Hillary in 2008 on the strength of painting her
as a "war-monger neo-con." The funny thing is, it was the neo neo-con Obomba who bombed Libya for daring to sell its oil in any currency other than U.S. dollars. Just like Iraq, and now Syria, Iran, Russia, etc. Even the Saudis said they would drop the petrodollar.
The U.S. political system is a joke.
And let the Republican frenzy begin... again.
Hillary is pure evil. Barack is just a puppet stoogecompared to her. Frodo was more afraid of Hillary than the Dark Lord of Mordor.
Sniffit is right,
Seems to me there is one and only one thing to take away from this article: CNN has completely forgotten how to journalism.
I seem to remember that within a month of Obama's second inauguration CNN was speculating on who would be the 2016 GOP nominee.
Apparently CNN in it's chase of the FAUX NEWS business model did not want to be second in the 2016 speculation race.
Elizabeth Warren for President.