CNN Poll: Romney tops Obama but loses to Clinton
July 27th, 2014
08:29 AM ET
2 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. Matt Mattson

    Romney is the President – Obama was elected on a lie and voter fraud, both of which are high crimes and misdemeanors.

    July 27, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  2. bvilleyellowdog

    Yes please do run R(money)
    Love Hillary.

    July 27, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  3. CRG

    CNN should do away with these comment sections. It is embarrassing to think that I live in a country with so many mean -spirited, ignorant people.

    July 27, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  4. dkhhuey

    Of course he would... after 6 years of ridiculously idiotic GOP obstructionism and Faux News 24/7 broadcasting of erroneous factoids and made up scandals – anybody would suffer in the polls.

    July 27, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. Amazing

    This is worthless news! I bet the same poll would probably say Al Gore would win. This poll has not relevance and the quality of journalism continues to decline.

    July 27, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. David H. Thoreau

    The polling company which CNN is using here, ORC. is owned by a right wing contributor to the Tea Party who refused to support Romney because he considered him too liberal.
    Even with strictly non partisan objective pollsters, the results of a poll can be easily skewed by a slight change of language in the questions or manipulating the polling sample.
    I personally do not trust a polling company doing political analysis when its owner is committed to one of the factions or ideologies in question.

    July 27, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Romney was a terrible candidate. How quickly we forget the time he declared that 47% of us are lazy do-nothings, his fever for war with Iran, how he fired a bunch of people and sent their jobs overseas.

    July 27, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  8. Reene562

    Blah Blah Blah, sore losers...who put this poll together, Congress??? LoL...Time to put a real woman in there...

    July 27, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  9. Rodboy

    I think they ladies that elected big "O" will elect Hillary- To keep wha cking kids in the womb is paramount for the ladies even the evangelical ladies want the freedom to w wha ck kids.

    July 27, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    "American Rights" and Save America Now" are fools and possibly racists!

    July 27, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  11. yerkiddinright

    Whatever. Seems to me that the national pastime has changed from baseball to whining.

    July 27, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. Olan Johnson

    I have just one question. If Hillary Clinton gets elected in 2016, is she going to endlessly blame the disasters she inherited on her predecessor Barack Obama for 8 years? When Iran explodes their nuke, will she blame it on Obama? When ISIS takes over Iraq, will she blame it on Obama? When AQ takes over Libya, will she blame it on Obama? Sorry, more than one question but I thought they were worth asking as well?

    July 27, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  13. cary fujita

    Proves that while people have 20/20 hindsight, they never learn and will continue to make the same mistakes, over and over.

    July 27, 2014 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  14. k tillman

    The house does not want to help Obama with anything positive that may help American citizens .So Obama has given up on them his purpose now is to break them so no one wins ,each American has to count on themselves because there is a war in Washington

    July 27, 2014 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  15. Reggie from LA

    So, uhm, what did our Congress do to help President Obama make things better? Can "librul" haters describe some positive initiatives undertaken and passed by Congress? Now I'm not talkin' about those things that help make the rich richer, I mean things that would help all of us. I'll listen up and see what folks feed back.

    July 27, 2014 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  16. It's obvious

    332 to 206.
    Get it?
    Got it?
    Good!

    July 27, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  17. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Would America now have Romneycare?

    July 27, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  18. Loathstheright

    Once again, this proves just how stupid the American voters are.

    July 27, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  19. Greg C.

    This is CNN Polling...shows how liberals are voting...things would be even more lopsided in favor of Romney had it been a more balanced polling audience...

    July 27, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  20. Andy Daniel

    You can't read too much into a "poll" that compares a President who had to make tough decisions with a presidential candidate who did not. That's not to take sides, but 2014 Obama is being compared to 2012 Romney,who, had he been elected, might have become more popular or less popular by 2014.

    July 27, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  21. Jim

    Yeah yeah....and a do over Gore beats Bush. Hindsight is 20/20.

    July 27, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  22. Michael1225

    Stuff like this just pisses me off and only serves to divide an already divided country. If the election were held again history would repeat itself as it always does. People would get to know Romney again, see that he's definitely the greater of two evils, and vote for Obama. All these polls do is serve the Faux News talking points.

    In fact, I had someone say the other day, "hows that Obama thing working out for you people?" Well pretty frickin good as the market was around 8,000 when he took over and now it's over 17,000 so I went from a millionaire to a multi millionaire so bite me.

    July 27, 2014 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  23. Roscoe Chait

    Romney would continue Bush's campaign of destroying America.

    July 27, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  24. 5giggy5

    2016 Clinton and Elizabeth Warren

    July 27, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  25. Everyman

    Poll numbers leading up to the 2012 election showed Romney with a substantial lead as well. Obama still won.

    July 27, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
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