A Mitt Romney-Hillary Clinton contest for president finds the two potential rivals tied in a Fox News poll asking registered voters about hypothetical matchups in the 2016 White House race.
Romney, the two-time presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor, leads all GOP challengers, with 21 percent support from self-identified Republicans in the poll
published on Thursday.
Romney also bests other Republicans also named in head-to-head matchups with former secretary of State Clinton, pulling "dead even" at 46 percent, Fox News reports.
Clinton leads Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky 47-44 percent, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush 48-43 percent, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie 48-42 percent, according to the poll.
Paul, Bush and Christie have all closed the gap on Clinton since last year when Fox began canvassing registered voters about hypothetical 2016 matchups.
The new poll does not list any prior polling numbers for a Romney-Clinton matchup, an indication that until recently nobody — not even Romney himself
— was seriously talking about another run by the investment banker and former U.S. Olympics organizer after his loss in 2012 to President Barack Obama.
Real Clear Politics,
for example, lists aggregate polling for seven hypothetical GOP opponents of Democrat Clinton in 2016, and Romney is not on the list.
Romney is now actively considering
another try, according to reports.
Clinton remains the overwhelming favorite of self-identified Democrats, the Fox News poll found, although her support, at 55 percent, fell from 62 percent in December and is down from its high of 69 percent recorded in April.
Among Republicans, Romney was trailed by Paul and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, with 11 percent each, followed by Bush (10 percent), retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (9 percent), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (8 percent) and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (5 percent).
Christie, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry each drew four percent support.
Fox News also asked voters their second-choice candidate, and found that if Romney decides not to run a third time, Bush becomes Republicans' favorite, with 15 percent, followed closely by Huckabee and Paul at 13 percent.
The poll of 1,009 randomly chosen registered voters was conducted Sunday-Tuesday, and has a 5 percent margin of error.
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