Hillary Clinton vs. Chris Christie.
It's an intriguing 2016 presidential showdown.
And according to a new national poll, Clinton would come out on top in such a hypothetical matchup.
That's one of the findings from a survey released Thursday from Quinnipiac University, which asked American voters about nine possible general election matchups in the next race for the White House.
According to the poll, the former first lady, Democratic senator from New York and secretary of state, leads the Republican New Jersey governor 45%-37%. The survey also indicates Clinton would top Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida 50%-34% and would beat Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the House budget committee chairman and last year's GOP vice presidential nominee, 50%-38%.
"Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would start a 2016 presidential campaign with enormous advantages," says Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "She obviously is by far the best known and her more than 20 years in the public spotlight allows her to create a very favorable impression on the American people. But it is worth noting that she had very good poll numbers in 2006 looking toward the 2008 election, before she faced a relative unknown in Barack Obama."
If Vice President Joe Biden became the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, the poll suggests closer general election contests.
Biden would trail Christie 43%-40% and would top Ryan 45%-42%. The three point margins in both matchups are within the survey's sampling error. According to the poll, the vice president would lead Rubio 45%-38%.
According to the poll, Christie would lead New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo 45%-28%, with Ryan ahead of Cuomo 42%-37% and Cuomo and Rubio deadlocked at 37%.
"Although some Republicans don't think New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie is conservative enough for their taste, he runs best of the three Republicans tested and would defeat two of the top Democrats," adds Brown.
One caveat with such polling is that the next presidential election is still three and a half years away, and surveys this early in a campaign cycle are often heavily influenced by name recognition.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted February 27-March 4, with 1,944 registered voters nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.