Hillary Clinton whips NJ's Chris Christie in White House matchup, poll says

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton would Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton would be a leading candidate for the presidency if she were to seek office in 2016, a new poll has found. (April 24, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton topped New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, 59-32 percent, in a preview of a potential 2016 presidential matchup, a new poll of New York State voters says.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo also beat Christie, but by a slimmer 46-38 percent, according to the Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday.

Pollsters had asked respondents whom they would vote for if the presidential election were held today.

"Gov. Cuomo tops New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie in the way-down-the-road presidential election," Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a statement. "But the Empire State's adopted daughter, Chappaqua's own Hillary Clinton, is the New Yorker with the big numbers."

The difference in victory margins was attributed to independent voters, who favored Clinton over Christie 48-35 percent, while those voters backed Christie over Cuomo, 48-29 percent, according to the pollsters.

The survey, conducted March 11-17, also found that Cuomo lost ground among New York State's Republican voters, who disapproved of his job performance for the first time since he took office.

Still, Cuomo's overall rating remained solidly positive at 55-27 percent. That compares with Cuomo's peak approval rating of 74-13 percent in a Dec. 12 survey and a 59-28 percent tally Jan. 30.

GOP voters' approval of Cuomo reached a high point July 25 at 69-19 percent, but fell to a narrowly positive 44-43 percent tally Jan. 30.

The poll also found New York State voters' approval rating of:

President Barack Obama was 57-39 percent.

• Sen. Charles Schumer was 61-27 percent.

• Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was 57-21.

The Quinnipiac survey of 1,165 New York State voters carries a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

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