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Hillary Clinton returns to work, receiving a football helmet as a gift from her staff
Quinnipiac University. Registered voters. June 28-July 8. ±2.2%.
U.S. President, 2016:

Hillary Clinton: 46
Chris Christie: 40

Hillary Clinton: 50
Rand Paul: 38

So after subjecting Hillary Clinton to six months of Republican attacks over Benghazi, and a new round of attacks for allegedly being too old, Republicans have managed to get themselves in a position where the only guy within a stone's throw of Hillary is the same guy who kicked off 2013 by telling Republicans they ought to be ashamed of themselves for trying to block aid to Hurricane Sandy victims.

Of course, there's no way that the Chris Christie who trails Hillary Clinton by six points could win the GOP nomination—he'd have to do the same thing Mitt Romney and John McCain did, putting himself through the Republican presidential primary meat grinder. After all that right-wing reprocessing, Chris Christie won't have an independent bone in his body—if he's lucky enough to make it out alive.

Against Rand Paul, who is much more representative of the type of candidate likely to emerge from the GOP primary (or the type of candidate Christie would be after winning the nomination) the race isn't even close to being close.

Moreover, her lead over Paul has grown from 8 points in May to 12 points now. That means she's doing better against Paul now than in the immediate aftermath of Darrell Issa's Benghazi hearings, aka the Stop Hillary Show.

Clinton's favorable rating is down a little from the sky-high rating she enjoyed in February 2013, when she had a 61 percent favorable and 34 percent unfavorable rating. But it's still very high: 55 percent favorable and 38 percent unfavorable. And it's also rebounded since Issa went after her during the Benghazi hearings in May. After those hearings, her favorable rating was 52 percent and unfavorable was 40 percent, so she's gained seven net points since then, without really doing anything.

There's a long time between now and 2016, and nobody even knows if Hillary Clinton is running. But with numbers like these, one thing is pretty clear: Republicans really hope she doesn't.

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