Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are both extremely well-liked in the swing state of Virginia, according to a new poll, but Clinton, a Democrat, would easily defeat the Republican Christie in a presidential matchup there.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday shows that 46 percent of Virginia voters would chose Clinton while 37 percent would back Christie. Clinton's level of support is about the same as last month, but Christie's support dropped by 3 percentage points since then.
Virginia is expected to be a key battleground in the 2016 presidential election just as it was in the past two White House races. After decades as a once-reliable Republican stronghold, changing demographics, particularly in the Washington, D.C. suburbs, have reshaped the state's electorate and national Republicans are struggling to win it back.
Clinton and Christie are both very popular in the now-purple state three years out from Election Day. The former first lady is seen favorably by 57 percent of voters while 56 percent like the outspoken GOP governor. Christie, however, has far fewer detractors and many more people still undecided about him than Clinton, who 38 percent of Virginians don’t like.
Additional data provided to the Washington Examiner by Quinnipiac pollsters shows that a third of those surveyed had favorable views of both candidates. Of those individuals, 70 percent would vote for Clinton and 20 percent for Christie.
Four in 10 voters who liked Christie would still vote for Clinton. Only 13 percent of people who looked favorably on Clinton would vote for Christie.
Less than 10 percent disliked both candidates. About 30 percent of those Virginians would vote for Christie and more than half would vote for someone else or not at all.
Clinton also would easily defeat Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, 53 percent to 34 percent in Virginia, the poll showed. Christie, however, would top Democratic Vice President Joe Biden, 44 percent to 37 percent. No other candidates were included in the poll.
It's unclear how President Obama, who twice won Virginia, could influence the 2016 race there. The poll shows that voters are now evenly split in their views of him, with 48 percent approving and 48 percent disapproving of his job performance.