Poll: Clinton leads Christie in 2016 presidential race

Hillary Clinton (D) leads Chris Christie (R) by a narrow margin in a hypothetical 2016 presidential match-up, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Friday.

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The former secretary of State topped the New Jersey governor 46 percent to 40 percent in the poll.

Both potential candidates registered strong favorability ratings. Clinton has a 55 percent favorability rating, while 38 percent of voters had an unfavorable view. 

Christie had 45 percent favorable rating and 18 percent unfavorable. Christie is viewed favorably by a plurality of Democrats by a margin of 41 percent to 19 percent, according to the poll.

“Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remains the front-runner for 2016 if she chooses to run," Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a statement. 

"But New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie's favorability numbers are impressive and if he can win over a solid share of those who do not yet have an opinion about him, he could be a very formidable candidate in 2016. Candidates with more than 2-1 favorability ratios don't grow on trees."

The second tier of candidates from both parties would trail Christie and Clinton by double-digits. Christie leads Vice President Biden (D) 46 percent to 35 percent in a head-to-head match-up, while Clinton tops Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) 50 percent to 38 percent.

None of the potential candidates have publicly committed to a 2016 run. However, Ready for Hillary, a super-PAC pushing the former New York senator to run, is loaded with former Obama campaign activists.

The Quinnipiac poll of 2,014 registered voters was conducted between June 28 and July 8 and has a 2.2-percentage-point margin of error.