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Poll: Hillary Clinton tops 2016 field

It is polls like this that supporters of Hillary Clinton hope will drag the popular former secretary of state into the 2016 presidential race.

In a Quinnipiac poll out Thursday, the ex-New York senator beats all comers in the 2016 presidential field in hypothetical match ups against several top rivals.

The poll tested Democrats Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo individually against Republicans -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who ran as Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential pick in 2012 against President Barack Obama.

Clinton was the only Democrat to beat all three Republicans, and Christie, who was not invited to next week’s conservative confab CPAC, showed the most strength for the GOP.

Clinton beats Christie, 45-37 percent, Ryan 50-38 percent, and Rubio by an even wider 50-34 percent.

By contrast, Biden would lose narrowly to Christie 43-40 percent. Biden, however, defeats Rubio 45-38 percent and Ryan 45-42 percent.

Cuomo -- son of ex-Gov. Mario Cuomo, who had been urged to run for president in 1988 and 1992 -- loses badly to neighboring state governor Christie, 45-28 percent. He also loses to Ryan, 42-37 percent and would tie with Rubio at 37 percent.

Clinton left her job as Obama’s secretary of state with sky-high favorability ratings -- 56 percent viewed her positively, while just 25 percent viewed her negatively.

Of course, if she were to throw her hat into the presidential arena, her image would likely take a hit, as partisans retreat to their corners. During the height of the Democratic primary in March 2008, for example, Clinton’s favorability was just 37 percent positive, 48 percent negative.

But as the primary campaign ended, and she was able to take on the statesman role of secretary of state, her image has been rehabilitated.