A new CNN poll finds that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonLaura Ingraham mulling Senate run: report 19 companies that Trump has tweeted about Democrats wed themselves to abortion at their electoral peril MORE are essentially tied in a potential 2016 presidential matchup.
Christie gets the support of 48 percent of registered voters, a 2-point lead over Clinton's 46 percent, but one that is within the poll's 3-point margin of error.
The close numbers at this early stage indicate that Christie could prove much more competitive against Clinton than other potential 2016 Republican contenders.
The next-closest Republican is Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the former vice presidential nominee whose star may have risen from his role in the recent bipartisan budget deal. Clinton leads him by 8 points in the poll.
She beats Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) by 13 points, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee by 15, Texas Gov. Rick Perry by 17, and freshman Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) by 18. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and former Sen. Rick Santorum are both down 19. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is down the most of the listed options, at 21 points.
Christie is the only Republican who wins suburbanites and older voters against Clinton, according to the poll. Christie also wins six in 10 independents. Not surprisingly, there is a stark difference in support between genders, with men backing Christie by 14 points and women going for Clinton by 10 points.