When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton leaves her post as the nation’s top diplomat this year, she will step into a new role: presidential front-runner.
Clinton is the leading contender to win the presidency in 2016 should she decide to run, but New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is the one Republican with a shot at defeating her, according to a new poll.
Clinton leads Christie 44-42 percent, the Public Policy Polling survey found.
Clinton, 65, who was recently hospitalized with a blood clot near her brain, trounces all other GOP contenders.
In early hypothetical match-ups, she leads Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, 53-39, and both Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, 51-37.
Clinton is also favored to win the Democratic Party nomination, with 57 percent of primary voters in her corner. Only Vice President Joe Biden also hits double digits, at 16 percent.
Gov. Cuomo, who delivered a State of the State speech Wednesday that touted liberal proposals, received just 4 percent.
Cuomo does better if Clinton and Biden decide not to run in an open race, getting the backing of 19 percent of Democrats, compared with 16 percent for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. No one else breaks 10 percent, and 40 percent of Democratic primary voters are undecided.
More than half of primary voters said they know of Cuomo.
The poll found a Clinton-Christie contest would be “the most epic possible.”
But the cantankerous Christie would have a tough time winning the GOP primary to face off against Clinton.
“The independent streak that makes Christie such a strong potential general-election candidate also hurts him with GOP primary voters,” the PPP analysis said.
Rubio leads the GOP field, with 21 percent to 16 percent for Ryan, 15 percent for Mike Huckabee, 14 percent for Christie and Bush and 5 percent for Sen. Rand Paul.
Christie polls at 32 percent among moderate Republicans as their top choice, but only 4 percent among voters who describe themselves as “very conservative.”
“That further right wing of the party has become more and more powerful in party primaries over the last few years, and it would be hard for Christie to win the GOP nomination without getting more support there,” the analysis said.
Clinton returned to work this week after her nearly month-long absence after first coming down with a stomach virus and then suffering a concussion after fainting in her home.
The most traveled secretary of state in US history, Clinton will step down from the post after her likely replacement, Sen. John Kerry, is confirmed by the Senate.
Read more at THE NEW YORK POST.