CNN Poll: Romney tops Obama but loses to Clinton
July 27th, 2014
08:29 AM ET
5 months ago

CNN Poll: Romney tops Obama but loses to Clinton

Washington (CNN) - If a rematch of the 2012 presidential election were held today, GOP nominee Mitt Romney would top President Barack Obama in the popular vote, according to a new national survey.

But a CNN/ORC International poll also indicates that if Romney changes his mind and runs again for the White House, Hillary Clinton would best him by double digits in a hypothetical showdown.

The survey, released Sunday morning, also suggests that more Americans see Clinton as a strong and capable leader than those who feel the same way about Obama. But Clinton's numbers on five personal characteristics have slightly edged down the past few months.

And the poll points to a jump the past month in support among Republicans for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

How Romney fares

According to the poll, if the 2012 election were somehow held again, Romney would capture 53% of the popular vote, with the President at 44%. Obama beat Romney 51%-47% in the popular vote in the 2012 contest. And he won the all-important Electoral College by a wider margin, 332 electoral votes to Romney's 206.

Last November, an ABC News/Washington Post survey indicated that if the 2012 election were held again, Romney would have had a 49%-45% edge over Obama in the popular vote.

Romney has said numerous times that he won't run for the White House again. But what if things changed and he ended up as the GOP nominee in 2016? The CNN poll indicates that 55% of Americans would support Clinton, with Romney at 42%.

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"Politically speaking, there is an interesting group of people who would not vote for Obama but would pick Clinton over Romney," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "It turns out that nearly seven in ten of them are women, and 56% are Independents."

The CNN poll – just like almost every national and state survey preceding it – indicates that the former secretary of state remains the overwhelming frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. Clinton is seriously considering a second White House run.

Two-thirds of Democrats and independents who lean toward the party say they would most likely support Clinton for the presidential nomination. One in ten say they'd back freshman Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a super star among liberals. And eight percent support Vice President Joe Biden. That's a slight swap from last year, when Biden stood at 12% and Warren at 7% in CNN polling.

Like Clinton, Biden is mulling another presidential bid, while Warren has said numerous times that she's not running in 2016.

Did book tour hurt Clinton?

The poll was conducted more than a month into Clinton's book tour for her new memoir "Hard Choices."

Did Clinton's well publicized book tour – including her controversial remarks that she and her husband Bill Clinton were "dead broke" when they left the White House in 2001 – hurt her standing with the public?

The number who say that Clinton shares their values dropped from 56% in March to 51% now, and the number who say she cares about people edged down from 56% to 53% in the same time period.

"But it's tough to tell whether Clinton's remarks were the reason for any change that might have happened. The number who believe that Clinton agrees with them on issue and can manage the government effectively also dropped, and those are not qualities that you would expect to be affected by any concerns over Clinton's wealth," said Holland. "The more likely explanation is that the book tour hurt Clinton - if it did so - not because of any specific comments that she made but because more Americans now view her as an active candidate for the White House."

GOP field all knotted up, but big jumps for Christie and Perry

The poll also indicates the race for the 2016 GOP nomination remains a wide open contest with no obvious frontrunner among the potential Republican White House hopefuls.

Thirteen percent of Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP say they'd likely back Christie, with Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a 2008 Republican presidential candidate, each at 12%. Perry – who ran for the White House last time around – and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin – the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee – are both at 11%.

Christie and Perry have each jumped five percentage points from CNN's last Republican nomination poll, which was conducted in June.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas are both at 8%, with Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 6%, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin at 5% and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who battled Romney deep into the 2012 GOP primary calendar, at 3%.

Turnout key in midterms

The poll's release comes with 100 days to go until November's elections. And the biggest question surrounding this year's midterms is how many people will turn out to vote.

The answer is crucial, because a smaller, more typical midterm electorate should favor the Republican Party. That's because single women, and younger and minority voters, who are big supporters of Democrats in presidential election years, tend to cast ballots in smaller numbers in the midterms.

That's the problem facing Democrats this November, as they try to hold onto their 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party). The party is defending 21 of the 36 seats up this year, with half of those Democratic-held seats in red or purple states. In the House, the Democrats need to pick up an extremely challenging 17 Republican held seats to win back the majority from the GOP.

The new CNN poll illustrates the turnout problem for the Democrats.

In the generic ballot question, the Democrats have a four percentage point 48%-44% edge over the Republicans among registered voters. The generic ballot asks respondents to choose between a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district without identifying the candidates.

But when looking only at those who say they voted in the 2010 midterms – when the GOP won back the House thanks to a historic 63-seat pick up and narrowed the Democrats' control of the Senate – Republicans hold a two-point 48%-46% margin.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International from July 18-20, with 1,012 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.


Filed under: 2014 • 2016 • CNN Polls • CNN/ORC International poll • CNN/ORC poll • Hillary Clinton • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (622 Responses)
  1. Breath Conserver

    Absolutely useless information. Let's see...Nixon would lose, Carter would lose, GWB would probably lose #2 if not also #1. I hope CNN's advertisers are pleased with this pap content. Next page, please.

    July 28, 2014 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  2. Cholly Boland

    Anyone who has never had to prove they can do anything will always get the favourable result. How can they fail? The point is whether Romney (or anyone) would have succeeded under the same challenges and conditions that Obama has faced. No one will ever know.

    July 28, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  3. T

    What a pointless exercise! Rove thought Romney over Obama on election night 2012.. and we know how well that worked out eh?

    July 28, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  4. GOP (Greed over Prozac)

    If we had a do over for Bush and Gore who would win? No question it would be Gore. This is a meaningless pole.

    July 28, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  5. MaryM

    Ha, 1,012 adults polled on Land Lines. Land Lines equal Old People. So, no CNN, not a good sampling of Americans

    July 28, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  6. pat

    remember romney care people,how come republicans aren't complaining in mass,they have it and love it

    July 28, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  7. Ned Racine

    Democrats should hope Romney will run again!

    July 28, 2014 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  8. Nelson Colorado Springs Co

    If a frog had a gun the frog could shoot the snake and birds that want to eat the frog. (SMILE). Who wrote this mess

    July 28, 2014 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  9. B

    women and monorites are the death of americva. our foref athers had it right. take away their voting rights until they prove themselves knowlageable and having any stake in the game. the women sit home while their husbands make the money and same with the blacks and other minorities. sit home and vote for for more free stuff. we need shiara law to put women in burkas and in the home locked up.

    July 28, 2014 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  10. Venki

    why do they keep doing polls on Romney vs Obama, its game over...unless Romney plans to run again

    July 28, 2014 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  11. Tom1940

    With a "reported" 42% job approval rating (38% by averaging (D)+(R)+(I)=114/3=) in the latest foxnews poll. The question of Romney over Obama if the election were held today is a "no-brainer". Romney would win. In my view, Romney is still the best choice of all the GOP Candidates currently out there. I know that in the areas Romney has experience, education and a "track record" of accomplishment, (and Barach does not), there is absolutely no contest in which candidate is better suited for the job.

    July 28, 2014 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  12. Anonymous

    Moot point! Why even both running a poll about a past election. I bet Gore would crush Bush if we knew what those 8 years would be like!

    July 28, 2014 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  13. zandhcats

    Romney, during the 2012 presidential champaign,"To encourage people buy more houses, I purpose tax credit to people who buy the second house and more house..." I don't need the media told me he is out of touch, by making such statement which tells me that Romney has lived in his comfy zone for his entire life and has no clue what the rest of the people are struggling in this country.

    July 28, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  14. Anonymous

    If your living habits, groceries, homes, transportation, clothing, etc. are less frequent and lower quality than 8-10 years ago, and your future feels dim........... Might be time to turn on the switch. But rest assured of this, it's going to happen sooner or later.

    July 28, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  15. Chris

    Are these the SAME polls that had him winning last time?LMFAO!!! I don't believe CNN polls anymore.. and for good reason too

    July 28, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  16. Abbey

    Democrats are fickle and quite possibly the slow voters on earth.

    July 28, 2014 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  17. funny

    that they think a poll consisting of 899 people if indicative of a national election. This must be the same numbers fox used when they said Romney was going to win the last election in a "landslide"

    Funny stuff. Fact is the Republican party is dead because it refuses to change with the times, and continue to be irrelevant except to old white folks until it decides to get with the modern world.

    Tax cuts for the rich and trickle down economics does not work...EVER
    Being the cowboy of the world trying to fix everyones problem with military force and trying to country build does not work.
    Not being inclusive with your message, does not work
    Being the party of no, and refusing to pay the bills you made...is bad policy and does not work.
    Saying your fiscally conservative and want small government, yet ballooned government spending and funded two wars on credit the last time you had office...is amusing
    No plan going forward to speak of, except to bash the president on everything and say no to everything he does and rehash old economic ideas that have proven not to work....is amusing
    Calling the government to cut welfare programs thinking they are targeting minorities in the inner city when the biggest welfare takers are the southern states, the ones who vote republican is REALLY FUNNY, all this while wanting to spend more money on the military....Amusing

    Tell me again why anyone in their right mind would cast a vote for ANY republican?? It really makes no sense at all, Obama hasn't been perfect by any stretch but he sure it light years better than the alternative who would send this country back to the dark ages.

    July 28, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  18. Jack

    If "wishes were horses beggars would ride"!

    Whoever wrote this article needs to go visit Newt Gingrich and take his revisionist history class and see if it changes anything today.

    It is what is; the President and the Democrats out maneuvered, outwitted the Republicans and the Republicans can't learn from that!

    Suing and trying to impeach the President and the Democrats all the fodder to bury them again!

    Not only do the Republicans' shoot themselves in the foot, they have taken a shotgun and blown off their gonads and both legs. The are idiots!

    Reagan's toenail is smarter than the collective brain trust of the whole Republican Party

    July 28, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  19. Justin Time

    I'd a voted for Wierd Al Jankovic during Bush's time if Mickey Mouse was not available so this means nothing.

    July 28, 2014 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  20. Paul

    How's your housing, groceries, clothing, transportation, fast food lunches, pleasure shopping, vacation plans, savings account, 401k, children's treats, entertainment habits, outlook on future job opportunities??? Hope and Change isn't something someone gives to you. It's something you make happen, but only if the environment is conducive to it. I hope you change, to conservative thinking.

    July 28, 2014 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  21. Scott

    Let's see, general consensus, Obama is a failure. So now Romney beats Obama when it doesn't count however in this CNN (Clinton News Network) Hillary wins in 2016. Very Predictable!

    July 28, 2014 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  22. criticalthinker

    Duh – We elect presidents by electoral votes not popular votes!

    Obama won 332 to 206 which mean Romney would have to take 64 electoral votes away from Obama.

    So why don't the fools who believe this nonsense tell us which states would flip and how they would add up to 64 electoral votes?

    July 28, 2014 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
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