A new poll released from Quinnipiac University yesterday shows Hillary Clinton (D) is the heavy favorite in the key 2016 battleground state of Virginia. According to the poll, Clinton would defeat the strongest Republican rival, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R), by nine points with Clinton earning 46 percent of the vote compares to just 37 percent for Christie.
While Virginia only has 13 Electoral College votes in 2016, it may be the most important swing state in the 2016 election. In 2012 President Obama won the state by four percent (51 percent to 47 percent) over Mitt Romney, which matched the margin of victory for President Obama nationally. Virginia demographics match up relatively well with the rest of the country. All of these facts make Virginia something of a bellwether for not only the country but other swing states like Florida, Ohio, and Colorado.
The Quinnipiac poll confirms what is widely regarded as the frontrunner status for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Christie is governor of a relatively nearby state and is well regarded in the mid-Atlantic region, yet still trails Clinton by a wide margin in Virginia.
The results are much different for both parties if Clinton or Christie decide not to run. The same poll shows Christie beating Vice President Joe Biden by seven points (44 percent to 37 percent) in a theoretical matchup.
If Christie was unable to win the Republican Party nomination, or decided not to run, the Quinnipiac poll shows Clinton beating Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) by nineteen points (53 percent to 34 percent).
If Biden were matched up against Cruz in Virginia the poll shows Biden winning by ten points (47 percent to 37 percent).
So both parties apparently take a big hit if their most popular candidate decides not to run or loses in the primary. If Clinton wins she is the apparent favorite to win Virginia and a majority of the Electoral College with it. The best hope for Republicans appears to be a matchup of Chris Christie against Joe Biden, but Christie would first need to get past the conservative block of the Republican Party.