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

    This article is absolutely stupid! It shows that most people have absolutely no memory when it comes to voting. Romney lost for good reason. This Congress has thrown a monkey wrench into absolutely everything that could improve conditions in this country for everyone, including the middle class. No President can do things alone without Congress and neither could Romney. The only difference between electing Romney instead of Obama, is that some of the nut case ideas of the Republicans may have become law. So all of you who think that things cannot be worse, you better hope and pray that you don't get what you wish for.

    July 27, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. Michael

    All this article shows is that most people have absolutely no memory when it comes to voting. Romney lost for good reason. This Congress has thrown a monkey wrench into absolutely everything that could improve conditions in this country for everyone, including the middle class. No President can do things alone without Congress and neither could Romney. The only difference between electing Romney instead of Obama, is that some of the nut case ideas of the Republicans may have become law. So all of you who think that things cannot be worse, you better hope and pray that you don't get what you wish for

    July 27, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. rpaulwmson

    If we had elected Romney, the top 1% would have ALL the wealth in the US instead of only 40%, and anyone who had a net worth of less than $10M or was not a white male would have lost their vote. Everyone would have to become a Mormon, except for women, blacks and Latinos, who would be the new untouchables, doomed to Hell forever. Never trust a man who has a $2M elevator for his cars.,

    July 27, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  4. larry

    any working man or woman that would vote for Romney are really stupid...any poor person that would vote for Romney are really dumb...any minority that would vote for Romney then you deserve what you get...that leaves ony white people..and we know you would vote for one of yours..

    July 27, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. Vic

    Can the Democrats finally find something wrong with Obama? I've seen Republicans stand up and say all the wrong things Bush did, but I've never seen any Democrats saying Obama is anything less than perfect. We've had nothing but bad choices for the past 20 years. I think it's time we cut their celebrity status and get this country together. We need a president who can UNITE us. We need a strong Independent who thinks outside the political box.

    July 27, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  6. Mark

    Then it should be a cake walk for the GOP in 2016, right? After all six years of obstruction and destruction towards Obama has finally worked.

    July 27, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  7. American Independent

    Americans no longer see Republican Presidential candidates as electable, since they are so out of touch with the mainstream. Hillary would win in a landslide if she decides to run.

    July 27, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. DJ Reality

    Republicans will loose in 2016 too. Face facts republicans, You wont win because you don't have anyone who can win. And on the odd chance one does he will suffer the same as Obama has. What goes around comes around. This time it will be democrats plotting against him on his inauguration day. And it will be our turn to make sure he's a one term president and we will succeed!

    July 27, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. shellacback

    If Obama were a Republican, the Republicans would be crowing about how he managed to get Putin to the table to work with Syria and stop their use of chemical weapons – all without US military intervention. They'd love his tough sanctions against Russia for their actions in Ukraine. They'd applaud his brilliant restraint in not arming ISIS when they were fighting against Assad. On and on and on. To call this President a failure says more about spin of Fox News and talk radio than it does about the President's decisions and policies.

    July 27, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. Ric

    They don't like Obama anymore but they would vote for Hillary? We're doomed...

    July 27, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  11. Stop wasting time

    We don't even know what Mitt would have done these past 2 years...

    July 27, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  12. Guest

    Working with Congress, even one that doesn't want to rubber stamp your policy goals is part of being President. I simply don't accept Republican obstruction as an excuse for the quality and quantity of what he's accomplished in six years.

    Gridlock was intended by the Founders when they split the power structure the way they did, so I don't have any sympathy for any President that can't or won't work with the representatives elected by the states and sent to Washington.

    President Obama has been ineffective at best and disastrous at worst in both domestic and foreign policy.

    And now to preempt the inevitable retorts:

    I'm not a Republican. I'm a registered Libertarian.
    No, I don't think President Bush did a particularly good job either. Not liking this President doesn't mean I adored the last.
    Yes, President Obama had to deal with the leftovers of his predecessor, *as all Presidents do*. He dealt with those leftovers poorly.
    No, I don't think the Republicans are going to offer anyone who is substantively better or different. That's why I vote 3rd party. Strategic voting is for people who are too lazy to research anyone else.

    July 27, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. Mat

    Meh. Popular vote is meaningless. It's about electoral votes. The dems have a massive advantage there and will continue to do so. Every Texan can vote R which would skew the popular vote, but the Rs will still get slaughtered in the electoral college. It's called math.

    July 27, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  14. Jerry

    Well that makes sense. in other words, even liberals know that Obama is an idiot and Romney should have been president but feminists would vote for another Obama just because she is a woman. Ain't that kinda how we got THIS idiot....just because he was black. They are both socialist/communists, both with FAILED, radical Muslim leaning foreign policy, and both are big spending liberals. Not to mention "don't call her from Benghazi in the middle of the night when you are being overrun". Hillary is just another Obama with teats.

    July 27, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  15. korkea aika

    if Romney had won (perish the thought!) at this point Putin would top him in popularity. Winning is losing when it comes to the US Presidency, and Obama has held up pretty well. But i'm not sure I understand why anyone would even want that job.

    July 27, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  16. Albertus Jenkins

    Just get over it, Romney loss no matter how many polls and wishful thinking Romney cannot beat Obama because Obama cannot run again. Face reality Obama won twice and Romney will not win even if the race was conducted today, Don't forget the polls had Romney ahead in 2012.

    July 27, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  17. newshound

    Too late now, folks. All this means is that the takers did not get enough from this Santa Claus, but they will vote Democratic again hoping to get more from the next one. And this cycle will go on and on because basically the majority do not want to be self-reliant anymore.

    July 27, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  18. Lee

    If Romney had been elected, the economy would still be in an economic tailspin. I cant imagine what economy would have looked like but it wouldnt have been pretty. On the positive side, we probably wouldnt have had an immigration problem.

    July 27, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  19. OsoMartinez

    Haterz will always hate.

    July 27, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  20. Kim

    I personally think Clinton is too old to run for presidency in 2016 no matter how good she is. Secondly, I can't stand more of the Obama policy/crisp.

    July 27, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  21. ice2424

    Gotta hate when truth gets in the way of lies.

    July 27, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  22. Bubba59

    Dumbest poll I ever saw. It is easy to sit at home and figure out the cost of a gallon of milk while the other guy is confronted with the worst problems this country has ever faced! Please give us a break .

    July 27, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  23. Bob

    Well let me see the difference: Romney had a health plan that we would now have OH WAIT that is the same plan we have under Obama. Romney is a Republican and they certainly support big business so YEP he would have bailed out the big businesses also so we would still have the debt. Not much else would change except of course we would still be in Iraq and never have caught Laden. Both parties suck....

    July 27, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  24. jim gilles

    Johnny57

    I hate to tell you Republicans this but you lost in 2012, and nothing is going to change that. We will see what happens in 2016.

    July 27, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm | NO JOHN WE ALL LOST

    July 27, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  25. PKRipper

    And yet old hillary lost to obama. LOL, nice spin job CNN but old hillary should just be put out to pasture, way to much baggage. Plus even though she tried she won't be able to play the Romney's rich card and that's a liberal favorite. A must have if you will.

    July 27, 2014 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
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