The 2016 presidential election is 1,093 days away. But if it were held today, and the candidates were Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie, the former secretary of state would have a double-digit lead on the New Jersey governor, a new NBC News national survey finds.
According to the poll, which was released Tuesday, 44 percent of 1,003 adults surveyed would support Clinton, while 34 percent would back Christie. The rest either preferred another candidate, said they would not vote or were undecided.
The results are similar to a Quinnipiac poll, conducted last month, that showed Clinton beating Christie 49 percent to 36 percent.
The latest far-too-early presidential election poll comes on the heels of Christie's landslide re-election in the New Jersey governor's race, which instantly branded him the front-runner among potential 2016 candidates in the Republican Party.
Still, some observers say Christie would face an uphill battle in a general election.
The NBC poll found Clinton leading Christie among African Americans (83 percent to 4 percent), 18-to-29-year-olds (45 percent to 31 percent) and Latinos (44 percent to 33 percent).
And exit polls conducted in New Jersey on Election Day even found Christie trailing Clinton 48 percent to 44 percent in his home state.
At the moment, the GOP is more divided than the Democratic Party on its hypothetical front-runners. According to the NBC poll, 32 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning respondents say they would vote for Christie in a GOP presidential primary, while 31 percent would prefer another Republican candidate.
Meanwhile, 66 percent of Democratic or Democratic-leaning respondents say they would back Clinton in a Democratic primary, while only 14 percent say they would vote for someone else.
But it's not all bad news for Christie and the GOP. The New Jersey governor "is actually better-positioned than Mitt Romney was in 2012," the Washington Post's Aaron Blake points out. "While Romney lost the Hispanic vote by 44 points, Christie trails by just 11. ... And while Romney lost young voters by 23 points, Christie trails by just 14. All of this despite Christie’s name ID deficit."
Others, though, argue that Christie, who has appeared on "Saturday Night Live" and "The Late Show With David Letterman," has plenty of name recognition.
"Superstorm Sandy put Christie on the map," Richard Cohen writes in the Daily News. "The winter snows of Iowa could bury him."