The latest on the presidential horse race.

Christie Edges Hillary in Latest Head-to-Head Poll

Quinnipiac, 12/3-12/9

  • Clinton: 41, Christie: 42
  • Clinton: 48, Paul: 41
  • Clinton: 48, Bush: 39
  • Clinton: 50, Cruz: 37

A new national Quinnipiac poll has found New Jersey Governor Chris Christie with a slight 1 percent lead over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical 2016 matchup. This is the second national poll that has shown Christie taking a lead over Hillary since his strong reelection in November after Clinton had led the governor since polling began.

The poll, conducted between December 3 and December 9, sampling 2,692 registered voters (the largest population sample for this hypothetical matchup yet), found Christie leading the former First Lady by a margin of 42-41. A Qunnipiac poll in November showed him leading by a similar 43-42 margin.

On the other hand, the rest of the potential GOP challengers all trail Clinton by a sizable margin. The poll showed Clinton with a 7 percent lead over Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Although the lead is significant, this is a rare poll in which Clinton hasn’t led Paul by at least double-digits. The last Quinnipiac poll in November showed Clinton with a 9 percent lead and in September she led him by a whopping 17 percent.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush didn’t fare any better as the poll showed him trailing the former New York Senator 48-39. Bush has consistently trailed Clinton by 9-12 percent since the summer. Texas Senator Ted Cruz found himself even farther back, trailing Clinton by a margin of 50-37. Cruz had trailed Clinton by 15 percent in November and by 23 percent in September.

While national polls don’t tell us much about individual state matchups, many swing states are clearly leaning towards Christie, even if they don’t particularly care for the other Republican candidates. A recent Monmouth poll even showed that Christie leads Clinton in his home state of New Jersey by three points. Although the state obviously has a Republican governor, the perennially blue state has not gone for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988.

If Christie can take some perennially blue states and put them back in play, he would change the entire electoral landscape. If this trend continues, there will be a lot more “swing states” on the map in 2016 than we have seen since Ronald Reagan.

(Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore)