A new poll finds Republican Terry Branstad gets a 58 percent job approval rating from Iowans and Peter Brown — the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute — says it makes Branstad “among the more secure” U.S. governors seeking reelection in 2014.

“He defeats any of the potential Democratic challengers by at least 16 points,” Brown says. “…Incumbents who poll 50 percent or higher on job approval generally get reelected. There are exceptions of course, but he’s in pretty strong shape. Now we have 11 months to go until the election.”

There are 34 and a half months to go until the November 2016 presidential election and the Quinnipiac pollsters asked registered Iowa voters a series of questions about potential general election match-ups.

“We ran several potential Republican presidential candidates against Hillary Clinton  who is the odds-on favorite for the Democratic nomination should she choose to run and what we found was that Mrs. Clinton does quite well,” Brown says. “But for the first time here in Iowa and only the second time in any state that Quinnipiac polls in, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie actually defeats Mrs. Clinton.”

Christie was supported by 45 percent of those polled, while Clinton garnered 40 percent support in that comparison. Clinton out-polled Republican challengers, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. In a match-up against Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Clinton got 45 percent compared to Paul’s 44 percent — which is within the poll’s margin of error.  Brown characterizes the poll as a snapshot of the current political environment in Iowa.

“Politics is a team game and the head of the ‘blue team’ — President Obama — isn’t doing so well these days in public opinion polls and so it’s not surprising there’s some drop-off among Democrats at all levels,” Brown says. “I mean, that’s what happens.”

A Des Moines Register Iowa Poll released today found Iowans generally pleased with the state’s direction. Branstad got an identical job approval rating in the paper’s poll.