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Poll: Chris Christie's 2016 comeback starts in Virginia

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Paul Ryan,Joe Biden,Hillary Clinton,Polls,2016 Elections,Rand Paul,Chris Christie

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's political comeback has started in Virginia where he has emerged as the Republican Party's best chance to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, according to a new poll from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va.

Christie, who is slowly extracting himself from the so-called "Bridgegate" affair, is the top pick among Virginians to be the 2016 GOP nominee, and he comes within the margin of error in a head-to-head matchup with Clinton.

In that contest, said the poll from the school’s Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy, Clinton beats Christie 43 percent to 41 percent. The margin of error for the poll of 901 voters is 3.3 percent.

Clinton dominates the Democratic primary race in Virginia just like she does in national polls. Some 66 percent of state voters pick her over Vice President Joe Biden, the pick of 19 percent.

Christie edges former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 19 percent to 18 percent, as the pick of Virginia Republicans to be the 2016 nominee. Bush, however, would lose to Clinton 51 percent to 38 percent.

“While 2016 seems like a lifetime in terms of electoral politics, Hillary Clinton has a clear and commanding lead in the battleground state of Virginia if she decides to run for president,” said Dr. Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center for Public Policy.

“While no Republican has as dominant a position as Clinton does right now, Chris Christie is the most formidable opponent to Clinton, and it is significant that he is able to keep Clinton’s support amongst women below 50 percent,” he added in a release detailing the poll results.

The poll also revealed that Virginia voters are down on President Obama, like the rest of the nation: 46 percent approve of Obama, 48 percent disapprove. What’s more, 57 percent believe the country is heading the wrong direction, just 35 percent in the right direction.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.