(Photo: REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)
A new poll has indicated that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may be the top contenders for their respective parties' tickets in the race for the 2016 presidential nominations.
About one-fourth of Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP say they would support Christie for the Republican nomination, up from 17 percent in September, says a CNN/ORC International survey released Friday.
Soon after his re-election, the New Jersey governor is leading by 11 points over Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who stands at 13 percent in the survey that was conducted Nov. 18-20.
Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the House Budget chairman and the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, ranks third with 11 percent.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum were also included in the poll. Cruz stands at 10 percent, Rubio at 9 percent, Perry at 7 percent, and Bush and Santorum each at 6 percent.
"Among Republicans making more than $50,000, Christie wins 32% support, 20 points higher than Cruz, Ryan, or Marco Rubio, all of whom get 12% among higher-income GOPers, and 23 points higher than Paul," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But among Republicans who make less than $50,000 a year, Christie's support drops 19 points, only good enough for second place behind Paul."
The survey was conducted by telephone with 418 Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP, and 374 Democrats and independents who lean Democratic.
This survey as well as all other 2016 surveys released this year indicate that Clinton would be the overwhelming frontrunner in the race for the Democratic nomination, the poll notes.
As many as 63 percent of Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party say Clinton would be their choice for the party's nomination. Vice President Joe Biden is a distant second at 12 percent.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren stands at 7 percent, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at 5 percent and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley at 2 percent.
But if Clinton were to decide against running for the White House, Biden would be the initial favorite to capture the Democratic nomination, says the poll, suggesting that in that case, 43 percent of Democrats would support him.
If that's the case, Warren would stand at 17 percent, Cuomo at 15 percent and O'Malley at 6 percent, the survey adds.
"Always remember that polls taken at this point in the election cycle usually measure name recognition rather than predicting support at the ballot box," Holland added. "Respondents rarely say they would vote for someone they have never heard of, and a lot of the names tested in the poll in both parties belong to politicians who do not have a national reputation."