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Image: NBC Poll: Christie Would Trail Clinton, Face Party Fight in 2016

NBC Poll: Christie Would Trail Clinton, Face Party Fight in 2016

By Sandy Fitzgerald   |   Tuesday, 12 Nov 2013 11:17 AM

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie could face a strong challenge not only from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton if he seeks the presidency in 2016 but also from his own party, a new NBC News poll reveals.

The survey of 1,003 adults released Tuesday, shows Clinton with 44 percent support, while Christie trails at 34 percent.

Neither Clinton nor Christie have formally announced their intentions for 2016, but both are considered their parties' top contenders.

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Christie was re-elected in New Jersey last week by a huge margin. According to the NBC poll conducted Nov. 7-11 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, he would pull 32 percent of Republican support in the GOP primaries if they were held today, with 31 percent of Republicans backing another candidate.

By comparison, Clinton would have a much easier time in her party primaries, with 66 percent of Democrats saying they would back her as opposed to 14 percent who said they would vote for another candidate.

"A third of the vote is not a bad showing in a party primary with [potentially] 10 candidates, but the first primary is more than two years away," said Princeton research CEO G. Evans Witt of Christie's poll numbers.

The survey, however, showed that Christie could have a tough time overcoming geographical divisions within his party. While Republicans in the Northeast would support him by a 57 percent to 22 percent margin, his support is much weaker in other parts of the country, the survey found.

In the Midwest, survey respondents said they would prefer another GOP candidate by a 35 percent to 30 percent margin. In the South, 29 percent of those polled said they would prefer someone else, compared to 27 percent who like Christie. And in the West, the New Jersey governor would lose to another Republican candidate by a margin of 40 percent to 22 percent.

Christie also faces opposition from tea party supporters and other conservative Republicans, reports The New York Times.

“We’re so frustrated with all this Christie talk we can’t see straight,” Kentucky tea party Republican Scott Hofstra told The Times. “He’s no more conservative than [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid."

Clinton, meanwhile, would likely benefit from many of the same demographics that helped put President Barack Obama twice. The NBC poll, for example, revealed that Clinton would beat Christie by a huge margin among African Americans, 83 percent to 4 percent. Young 18 to 29-year-old voters also chose her by a margin of 45 percent to 31 percent, while Latinos favored her over Christie by 44 percent to 33 percent.

She also polled well among white voters, by a 41 percent to 37 margin over Christie. Among seniors, she drew 44 percent support to his 41 percent. And among more affluent voters making $75,000 or more annually, she had 46 percent support to 34 percent for the governor.

Witt said Clinton could still face Democratic challenges from other potential candidates, such as Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has been mentioned as a possible contender. But Clinton, said Witt, "is the best-known Democrat in the country who might run in 2016, with the possible exception of Vice President Biden. No one else is close in sheer name recognition."

ObamaCare: You Can Win With The Facts

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