New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is leading former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by five points in an early look at 2016 presidential match-ups in Iowa, according to a new poll.
A Harper Polling/ Conservative Intel poll
conducted Nov. 23-24 showed that 43 percent of the 985 likely Iowa voters questioned say they back Christie compared to 38 percent who support Clinton.
And in a potentially crowded field of GOP candidates, Christie is the only Republican who beats Clinton, though every other Republican candidate is within single digits of the former New York senator. Specifically, Clinton leads the other top two GOP contenders, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 47 percent to 40 percent, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at 47 percent to 41 percent.
Christie also narrowly leads the list of possible Republican candidates. Seventeen percent of the 390 respondents who identified themselves as likely GOP Iowa caucus-goers support Christie compared to 16 percent who support Cruz.
Paul comes in third place with 13 percent support. And former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who won the GOP Iowa caucuses in 2012, has 11 percent support.
Sixty-nine percent of the Republicans in the survey described themselves as conservative compared to 24 percent who said they are moderate.
While Iowa is not considered a bellwether state in the general elections, the state's caucuses are the first major electoral step in the presidential nominating process, and represent the earliest test of the candidates' viability.
The last time a Republican won Iowa was in 2004 when incumbent President George W. Bush beat Democrat John Kerry with a narrow majority of 49.9 percent to 49.2 percent, according to Federal Election Commission records.
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