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Its been awhile since we have checked in on the ongoing saga that is the trek to 2016, but thankfully Public Policy Polling exists as they have a new poll hot off the presses.  The North Carolina-based polling outfit takes a look at both the Republican and Democratic fields as well as some head-to-head matchup.

Not too much has changed on the Republican side as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is still the favorite over his more conservative counterparts.  Christie leads with 19% over Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 14%, Mike Huckabee at 13% and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at 11%.  Rounding out the field is Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush who are tied at 10%, Marco Rubio at 7%, Scott Walker at 4% and Bobby Jindal bringing up the rear at 3%.

Some interesting tidbits is that Huckabee, who has recently announced that he is not saying no to the idea of a presidential run (which will likely mean he won’t do anything) is the most popular of the group but it seems that there isn’t that much excitement around him.  By contrast, Chris Christie has an average favorability rating but his supporters are all in for him.

If Huckabee doesn’t run, Christie’s lead swells to 23% to 15% over Cruz.  Also worth noting is the slow fall back to the field that Rand Paul has had and Marco Rubio’s descent into the back portion of the field.  Scott Walker may not be a threat now but don’t be shocked if an infusion of money behind him can catapult him to the top of the field especially considering the likely implosion of a Ted Cruz campaign.

For the Democrats though, ho-hum same story as before.  Hillary Clinton is up 66% to 10% over Vice President Joe Biden with 6% for Elizabeth Warren.  Tied at 2% is Cory Booker, Martin O’Malley, Howard Dean, John Kerry, Andrew Cuomo and 1% over Brian Schweitzer.  Joe Biden is the early favorite if Clinton demurs on a run with 35% over John Kerry and Elizabeth Warren tied at 13%.

Without the big guns of Clinton, Biden, Kerry and Dean; Warren is up 24% to 14% over Cuomo, 13% for Booker and O’Malley at 7%.

What are the main takeaways on the Democratic side?  Hillary remains the clear favorite with Joe Biden in position to capture some excitement should she not run.  Without them?  The most exciting candidate is Elizabeth Warren who I have reservations on if she really wants to run or stay in the Senate where she could likely do more good.

Its hard for a progressive because we finally have a rockstar like Elizabeth Warren but we can’t lose her if she has an unsuccessful run.  It might be best if she stays in the Senate and gains more and more seniority.  I also don’t think Booker would be willing to immediately jump into the fray either and will likely look at 2020 or 2024 (after possibly being a top VP candidate) so that leaves us with a field headlined by Cuomo, O’Malley and Schweitzer.  Eek.

But don’t sweat it too much; Clinton is still expected to probably run.

When it comes to head-to-heads, Christie appears to be the slight favorite over 1,000 days from election day (I’m aware of how ridiculous this is) inching out Clinton by a 45/42 margin thanks to Christie’s popularity amongst independents.  Christie crushes Kerry by 11, Biden by 14, Warren by 16 and Dean by 22.

To be fair though Christie is popular now but I don’t know how he can maintain that when he will get bombarded by ads.  He’ll get thrown through the ringer with his “temperament”, his new bridge controversy and there’s no way he will remain that popular amongst Democrats as the election wears on.  His record is staunchly conservative and we’ll see how it lasts.