Washington: Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has emerged as the front-runner for the 2016 presidential race, surging ahead of potential candidates like Vice President Joseph Biden and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, according to a new poll.
Clinton would defeat three potential Republican presidential candidates if the 2016 presidential election were held today, with Christie second in a field of three Democrats and three Republicans selected by Quinnipiac University for a national poll released on Thursday.
Biden and New York`s Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo would not fare nearly as well, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds.
"Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would start a 2016 presidential campaign with enormous advantages," says Peter A Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
The former first lady and the Democratic senator from New York leads the Republican New Jersey governor 45-37 per cent, according to the survey, which asked American voters about nine possible general election matchups in the next race for the White House.
65-year-old Clinton, however, has said she has no plans to re-enter politics and run for the White House in 2016 as she wants to rest after two decades in the public spotlight.
According to the poll, Clinton would beat Republican Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the House budget committee chairman and last year`s Mitt Romney`s running mate, 50-38 per cent and would top Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida 50-34 per cent, the CNN reports.
"She obviously is by far the best known and her more than 20 years in the public spotlight allows her to create a very favourable impression on the American people.
"But it is worth noting that she had very good poll numbers in 2006 looking toward the 2008 election, before she faced a relative unknown in Barack Obama," Brown said.
If Biden, 70, became the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, the poll suggests closer general election contests.
Biden would trail Christie 43-40 per cent and would top Ryan 45-42 per cent. The three point margins in both matchups are within the survey`s sampling error. According to the poll, the vice president would lead Rubio 45-38 per cent.
The blunt-talking Christie would lead New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo 45-28 per cent, with Ryan ahead of Cuomo 42-37 per cent and Cuomo and Rubio deadlocked at 37 per cent, according to the poll.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted February 27-March 4, with 1,944 registered voters nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey`s overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.