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.
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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%.
"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.
Congress ratings are low because the MSM trashes republicans every day..the congress has almost as many democrats...senate has more dems than repubs..the senate does NOTHING
God help us.
mittens romney, dogs riding on the tops of your cars for everyone
If Romney had been elected, oh how happy Cheney and the GOP would be. We would be in every conflict the whole world over. By now, we would have already been in a war with Russia. Just think what President Obama has done for this country, he saved us from the mess that Bush left.
I Told You So,
ah the USA that Could have been.......................
LIke it matters at this point, CNN. Obama beat Romney, just like he beat McCain in 2008. I think this obviously reflects the general crappy state of Washington, everyone is ready for something else.
And in a do-over of Humphrey / Nixon, Humphrey tops - and in a do-over over Bush / Gore, Gore tops - so what's the point of the survey. No one knows how Romney would have done, especially since he would have inherited a divided Congress, and would have had major difficulty holding on the extreme right after having trying to win back the support of those he so royally dismissed in order to attempt to gain the White House – you know, the 47%, the Blacks, the Latinos, the binders of women, the Native Americans, the Gays, the poor, the un-insured. Too many people are only blaming Obama for current situations, instead of looking very long and very hard at this do nothing Congress, especially the obstructionist republicans, who would rather the sink ship, because they loathe Obama (too bad, he won TWICE, so get over it), instead of doing what's best for the WHOLE country. They and their constituents would rather see the country suffer, than a Black man succeed at making things better for all, not just those narrow-minded, ultra conservative racist, sexist homophobes who "want their country back." And please, spare me with the "race hasn't played a factor" baloney.
Those being polled are almost all Republicans (they're older and they have a home phone line=conservatives). Also, never is it brought up as a reminder that Mitt Romney said he would make life miserable for the percentage of Americans that don't make over $100,000 a year (which is a pretty large percentage). People blame President Obama for the entire mess going on in Washington, D.C. when it is he and other Democrats that are actually DOING THEIR JOB. Go find a Republican in Congress and you'll see your tax dollars going to someone who is spending more time at KKK and Tea Party rallies than actually trying to pass laws to help Americans.
Why would anyone waste time doing this type of meaningless polls. I can bet Mr. romeny will still loose to President Obama even if the elections were held today. The former Mass governor has done nothing since losing election to bolster his leadership quality.
That's interesting. Gallop says Obama is at 39%. You must have taken this poll awhile ago.
Poll undoubtedly taken with LANDLINE phones, i.e. mostly older white people. FAIL
It's extremely racist for anyone to assume that the only reason President Obama was elected was because of his race. I voted for Obama because I'm a progressive liberal gay feminist and there was no way that I'd vote for a corrupt bigoted liar like Romney who believes that corporations are people and that I as a gay man don't qualify for equal rights. I have more legal rights and protections because of President Obama which is something I thought I wouldn't live to experience.
Good grief. The election is over folks. Governor Romney has not had to make the tough decisions and certainly we don;'t have any information that would suggest he would be a better President. What we do know is that our Congress is not doing the job. They avoid making decisions by rehashing old topics, voting on "Obamacare over 41 times, investigating and reinvestigating and then investigating again and then doing nothing about the investigations, suing the President, and coming before the cameras to give the media a glance at the leadership team of the House, press conference so Speaker Boehner can show that he is mad, etc. The Democrats have Sen. Reid who had the opportunity to make the majority rule instead of 2/3 majority and therefore, the Senate does not do much either.
It is time to demand that our representatives work together and find ways to come to an agreement on legislation. The Constitution made us a nation of equals and it is time some members were told that as well. Compromise and collaboration are not dirty words.
Romney? Kidding me, yes? The man hasn't changed one bit. Anybody remember the "corporations are people too?".
What would make you think that the multimillionaire has gotten in touch with everyday Americans since he bombed out badly in his presidential aspirations? What? What?
If Romney had gotten his hands on the White House we'd be screaming bloody moider [sic] about the delusional incompetence of the office holder. What makes you think that he's come of out his rich man bubble to make him any more competent??
The American electorate really would deserve all the misery that an out of touch millionaire business mouth piece could come up with if they think he would do better. Geeemeeeneee, stupidity must be so much fun. Why else do we want to engage in so much more "stupid".
How very sad for our country if we elect H Clinton as president. M Romney had experience and a good code of moral ethics. His experience with healthcare issues could help to improve the Affordable care Act and our country could be on the track to more jobs and a better life for all.
They could run 100 times and Mitt Romney would never beat Barack Obama.
He will always be Mitt Romney, and as soon as people remember that, he becomes unelectable.
This poll called just over a thousand people via landlines. It doesn't prove any more that Hillary would beat Romney or that Romeny would beat Obama.
Oh no...the "Obama is God" people will have a tantrum and cause an online scene. They don't like when people correct them.
He will always be Mitt Romney and once people remember that, he becomes unelectable.
coulda woulda shoulda who gives a crap fact is if the Teapublican/GOP would stop obstructing the Presidents agenda we would all be better off actually we would all be be way way way better off if Congress was impeached !
Who cares about this polls? They are irrelevant!!!
I think that would be true for a lot of elections. People often think "it would be better if..." I am sure if McCain had won and we were embroiled in several new wars, people would be saying "it would be better if..."
Green Eggs and Ham ?
Ted Cruz / Darrell Issa 2016
Republicans are definitely on the ropes. Playing games at the state level with congressional district lines while making it more difficult for Americans of all races to vote by requiring photo IDs, shortening the early voting period, allowing a minority of members in the House (218 Republicans–the so called "majority of the majority") to decide what bills come to the floor for a vote, etc. will only last for a few more years. Once these millions of illegal immigrants become citizens and join the Democrat Party, the GOP will slowly wither away. And that will be a sad day for America.
And you lost in 2000 (BvG). And nothing will change that. Certainly not a sorry president like Obama.