Paul tops Clinton in 2016 Colorado matchup
© Greg Nash

Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulOvernight Healthcare: CBO predicts 22M would lose coverage under Senate ObamaCare replacement Fox News personality: GOP healthcare plan says ‘ideology is less important than victory' Rand Paul opens door to backing healthcare bill on key hurdle MORE (R-Ky.) is currently the strongest 2016 presidential candidate in Colorado, beating out Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonMaxine Waters is joking about 2020 — but not about Trump How Florida explains our polarized politics Dem senator: Pardoning targets of Russia probe would be 'crossing a fundamental line' MORE in a hypothetical matchup, a new poll suggests.

A Quinnipiac University survey released Thursday found Paul would lead Clinton 48 to 43 percent in the Rocky Mountain state.

More than half of male voters in the state said they would back Paul, while half of female voters said they’d support Clinton.

The former secretary of State and first lady has been considered the front-runner for the Democrats if she chooses to run again, while Paul has won several conservative straw polls that gage whom Republicans might favor. 

Clinton would tie Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) 42 to 42 percent, lead former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) 45 to 40 percent and narrowly lead former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee 45 to 44 percent.

The poll found Paul received the highest favorability rating — 41 percent — among the potential GOP presidential candidates. Just under a third viewed Paul unfavorably. 

Forty-eight percent view Clinton favorably and 47 percent view her unfavorably, the poll indicates. 

"The road to the White House has many twists and turns, but right now, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul is the man to beat in Colorado," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll. 

Just over a third of Colorado voters said they approve of President Obama’s job as president, while 59 percent said they disapprove. 

In 2008 and 2012, Obama won Colorado, which has trended more democratic in recent years.

The poll was conducted April 15 to 21 and covered 1,298 registered voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.