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Pollster explains why Christie tops Clinton right now

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Gov. Chris Christie is polling well across the country, although he has yet to declare he will be running for president.
Gov. Chris Christie is polling well across the country, although he has yet to declare he will be running for president.

In Washington, they always talk about how a politician is doing "outside the Beltway." So it may only make sense in New Jersey to talk about how a potential nominee is playing "on the other side of the GW Bridge."

In Chris Christie's case, the answer appears to be quite well.

The latest polls from CNN show New Jersey's governor is the only potential GOP nominee for the 2016 presidency who beats potential Democratic front-runner and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The latest poll from Fox News shows Christie is favored to be the Republican nominee.

In the CNN poll, Christie tops Clinton, 48 to 46. And while the number is within the margin of error, it is far higher than the next potential GOP nominees, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan (who trails by 8) and Kentucky Congressman Rand Paul (who trails by 13).

And while it makes sense to say that polls taken long before candidates have even declared are meaningless, there is plenty to look at in how Christie matches up with Clinton.

"He performs particularly well among independents, winning nearly six in 10 in that key group," CNN polling director Keating Holland said. "He also wins a majority of suburbanites and older voters, something that no other GOP hopeful [who was] tested was able to do against Clinton."

Christie matches Clinton for name recognition and plays well throughout the country, according to the early numbers.

"Christie doesn't win in the Northeast — although he does hold Clinton to a bare majority there — but he has a solid edge in the Midwest while playing Clinton to a draw in the South and West," Holland said.

Christie also trails Clinton among women (by 10 points) but is ahead among men (by 14 points).

The latest Fox News poll has Christie ahead of the pack of potential Republican nominees when read a list of candidates — but not by much.
Christie is the top choice, with 16 percent, followed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (all at 12), Rand Paul (at 11) and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (at 8).

Worth noting: Other (with 11 percent) and none of above (with 5) also scored well.

The CNN poll was conducted between Dec. 16 and 19, with 950 registered voters nationwide questioned by telephone.

The Fox News Poll was conducted between Dec. 14 and 16 by telephone among a random national sample of 1,027 registered voters.

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