By Elizabeth Dilts
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie would be running neck and neck if the U.S. presidential election were held today, according to a nationwide poll released on Wednesday.
The results come a day after a separate poll found the Republican governor trailing the former first lady by ten points in a hypothetical presidential match-up.
Both political figures are widely expected to make a bid for the White House in 2016, although neither has confirmed an intention to run for the presidency.
In the Quinnipiac University poll, 42 percent of registered voters surveyed said they would support Clinton and 43 percent said they would back Christie.
Christie earlier this month won re-election in New Jersey with a wide margin of victory over his Democratic challenger, state Sen. Barbara Buono.
The poll results illustrate more of a dissatisfaction with Washington than support for either the Democrat or Republican, said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Polling Institute.
"There is a perceived dysfunction in the eyes of Americans, and anyone in Washington is looked at very critically, including possibly former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by virtue of her connection to Obama," he said.
"In Washington today, it comes down to who the voters dislike the least," said Malloy.
The poll showed Clinton with sizable margins over other more conservative potential Republican candidates. She led with nine percentage points over U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, nine points over U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan and 15 points over Tea Party movement star U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.
The Quinnipiac poll was conducted from November 6 through November 11 among 2,545 registered voters nationwide using land-line and cellular telephones. The margin of error was plus or minus 1.9 percentage points.
An NBC poll released on Tuesday showed Clinton with 44 percent and Christie with 34 percent.
The NBC poll, conducted November 7 through November 10 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Alden Bentley)