Poll: Hillary Clinton Leads 2016 Field

Republican Chris Christie performs best against Democrats, according to new poll.

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The former secretary of state tops members of both parties.

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Even as she takes a step back from the spotlight, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remains atop the 2016 field, dominating match-ups with both Democrats and Republicans, according to a new poll.

In head-to-head contests with Republicans, Clinton would beat popular New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie 45 percent to 37 percent, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida by a margin of 50 percent to 34 percent, and former vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, 50 percent to 38 percent, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll.

Other top Democrats, such as Vice President Joe Biden and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, polled with mixed results against their potential Republican 2016 counterparts.

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Poll results demonstrated "Clinton would start a 2016 presidential campaign with enormous advantages," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a release accompanying the results. "She obviously is by far the best known and her more than 20 years in the public spotlight allows her to create a very favorable impression on the American people.

But Brown adds Clinton looked similarly strong in 2006 before losing the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination to Barack Obama. Her numbers against the Republicans could also be bolstered by the fact that she has far wider name recognition than them, giving them an opportunity to grow as people familiarize themselves with the potential field.

Brown also points out another wrinkle on the GOP side—while Christie fairs the best against Clinton, he doesn't not have the same support from hard conservatives, which may inhibit his ability to emerge from a Republican primary.

[POLL: Clinton Is Voters' Favorite]

"Although some Republicans don't think New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie is conservative enough for their taste, he runs best of the three Republicans tested and would defeat two of the top Democrats," Brown said.

The poll also surveyed Americans on gun reform proposals, revealing that a wide majority of Americans—88 percent to 10 percent—support background checks. That includes 85 percent to 13 percent among voters with guns in their households, according to the poll. A narrower majority of all those surveyed—54 percent to 41 percent—said they support a nationwide so-called assault weapons ban. A similar percent said they also support a ban on ammunition magazines with more than 10 rounds.

The poll surveyed 1,944 registered voters from Feb. 27 and March 4 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percent.

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