Christie and Clinton In 2016 Dead Heat

An early look at the next presidential race

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Mel Evans / AP; Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are dead even in a hypothetical contest for the White House, according to a new national poll.

The newly-reelected Christie has the support of 43 percent of Americans in the survey by Quinnipiac University, while 42 percent say they would back Clinton. That’s well within the poll’s 1.9 percent margin of error. A large gender gap divides the candidates, with women supporting Clinton 48 percent to 39 percent, and men backing Christie 47 percent to 35 percent. But the Republican holds a 16-point lead among independent voters.

Christie would face a tough slog to his party’s nomination, as the GOP is increasingly fractured between tea party conservatives and more moderate Republicans, but he has the best shot of beating Clinton, the poll finds. Clinton would beat Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan by 9 percentage points, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz by 15 percentage points.

The poll found that large pluralities of Americans believe both Christie and Clinton would make good presidents. The same could not be said for Vice President Joe Biden, Paul, Cruz, or Ryan, none of whom topped 34 percent of the public believing they’d make good commanders in chief.