- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 16, 2014

In a hypothetical match-up between New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Mrs. Clinton has pulled ahead, recent polls show.

And not by a hair — but rather a full 13 percentage points, this week’s NBC News/Marist poll indicated.

Mrs. Clinton leads Mr. Christie as the pick for president with 50 percent of registered voters. Only 37 percent say they would vote for Mr. Christie.

The pollsters also found that only 29 percent of registered voters had a favorable impression of Mr. Christie, who’s taken political fire in recent days over a scandal involving his aides’ alleged plot to close down lanes in a heavily traveled roadway overseen by a mayor who didn’t support the governor’s re-election campaign.

Fully 32 percent had an unfavorable impression of Mr. Christie — but 39 percent were either unsure of their feelings toward him, or just didn’t know who he was.

By contrast, 51 percent of registered voters said they held a favorable impression of Mrs. Clinton. Another 39 percent said they did not, while only 10 percent said they were unsure of their feelings or of who she was.

Mr. Christie doesn’t have to abandon all hope for his political career, though. Take Mrs. Clinton out of the picture, and he still fares pretty well — at least when it comes to the Republican pack of presidential maybes for 2016.

When asked which Republican candidate was tops, 16 percent of registered voters selected Mr. Christie as their primary presidential pick. He was followed by Paul Ryan, with 15 percent of the support, then Rand Paul and Jeb Bush, with 9 and 8 percent, respectively.

The poll of 1,039 registered voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points and was conducted between Jan. 12 and Jan. 14.

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