Poll: Clinton vs. Christie in 2016
49% in NJ say they would back Clinton
What if it came down Hillary Clinton vs. Chris Christie in the 2016 presidential election?
While Christie's home state of New Jersey hasn't been carried by the GOP in a presidential election since 1988, a new poll suggests voters there would be divided between their Republican governor and Clinton in a hypothetical presidential showdown.
A Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday also indicates that nearly three-quarters of New Jersey registered voters, a record, approve of the job Christie's doing as the Garden State's governor, and more than seven in 10 say he deserved to be re-elected to a second term this November.
Looking ahead to 2016, 49 percent of Garden State voters questioned in the poll said they would back Clinton in a possible presidential showdown, with 45 percent supporting Christie. The four-point margin is within the survey's sampling error.
Clinton, the former first lady and senator from neighboring New York, narrowly lost out to then Sen. Barack Obama in an historic 2008 Democratic nomination battle. Clinton, who stepped down as secretary of state earlier this month, says she has no plans to run for president again, but has not ruled it out. Christie contemplated a bid for the 2012 GOP nomination, but ruled out a run. There's plenty of speculation he might run in 2016.
According to the poll, Christie would top New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo 54 percent-36 percent in a separate hypothetical 2016 matchup. Cuomo is another Democrat who is thought to have White House ambitions.
"If the 2016 presidential race shapes up to be the Battle of the Hudson, Native Son Christie tops New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the west bank of the river, but is locked in a tight race with the Empire State's favorite adopted daughter, Hillary Clinton," says Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
The survey indicates 74 percent of New Jersey voters give Christie a thumbs up as governor, the highest approval rating of any New Jersey governor in 17 years of Quinnipiac polling in the state.
Christie's approval rating among Garden State voters skyrocketed in a slew of polls starting in November, thanks in part to his very active response to Superstorm Sandy, which struck New Jersey in late October and caused severe damage. Seventy-one percent say he deserves re-election. And the survey indicates he leads his likely Democratic challenger, state Sen. Barbara Buono, 62 percent-25 percent, in the November showdown.
"How high is up? New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie keeps soaring. Most governors would kill for a 56 percent job approval rating. Republican Gov. Christie gets that from Democrats!" adds Carroll. "State Sen. Barbara Buono is going to have to introduce herself to voters; no one knows her and Christie clobbers her."
But Christie realizes those sky-high numbers could be fleeting.
"Listen, no one's unbeatable," Christie told reporters earlier this month. "And so, the idea that somehow because you are very popular in February means you are going to be very popular in November -- could be, but could not be. There will be a lot of things that will happen in between now and then that will determine that."
New Jersey, along with Virginia, are the only two states to hold gubernatorial contests in the year after a presidential election.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted Feb. 13-17, with, 1,149 registered voters in New Jersey questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.
Copyright 2013 by CNN NewSource. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.