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. Scott

    Save America NOW!

    Can we please find out who the 44% who would still vote for Obama are, as well as the 55% that would vote for Hillary Clinton , and revoke their citizenship and deport them?!!

    If after all of Obama's lies and failures you would still vote for him, you are too stupid to be in the country! LEAVE!!

    And if you would vote for another "first" that has already shown she can't handle the job with her failures ate the State Dept. you are equally as stupid. PLEASE LEAVE!!
    ______________________________

    Why don't YOU and your ilk leave? It's pretty obvious you have no real understanding of politics nor Obama's performance and instead just buy into what you hear on Fox News. The stock market is hitting all time highs weekly, we've had 52 months of job growth, unemployment is falling, more people have health insurance now than since Medicare was passed, we're now out of two wars that Bush started, our deficit is less than half what it was when Obama took office, etc. etc. Please tell me exactly WHAT makes Obama a bad president and half the population foolish for supporting him. You can't come up with anything other than easily disprovable talking points.

    July 27, 2014 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  2. dax

    we all saw what Obama had to do to win reelection.... Is anyone surprised now that his lies have come out that people regret voting for him. The Hillary BS is laughable, she won't even win the primary and she knows this... she won't run and embarrass herself in 16. Bank on it.

    July 27, 2014 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  3. dike

    @Save America NOW!

    You dont like the concept of democracy, its wither your way or die... Maybe you should go join ISIS, as they share your philosophy

    July 27, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  4. dike

    @Save America NOW!

    You dont like the concept of democracy, its wither your way or deport... Maybe you should go join ISIS, as they share your philosophy

    July 27, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  5. VEW2012

    Ridiculous article. If Romney had won he would be facing these low numbers. When a president has to make hard choices he cannot please everyone. The wisest thing he can do is stay calm and not walk us into bigger problems. We all know what happened when the last president walked us into big problems, big problems for which we are still heavily paying the price. I commend the president for staying the coarse and not bending to the war hawks.

    July 27, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. pogostick

    How ridicilous. We have no idea what Romney would have been like as president.

    July 27, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. dike

    If Romney had won and we take the poll now, maybe the differential would be in double digits. Whats the purpose of this poll.

    July 27, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. Thatguy371

    Here come the goofball righties gloating over an imaginary election conducted by a poll of very few people. Wow, I guess the right has to have something to keep them from blowing a fuse. Maybe if they'd just accept the fact this nation has improved since President Obama took office. Yeah I know, he's black AND he's a dem. Too bad. Start being a true patriot and get behind this nation.... and stop trying to attack it with your delusional conspiracy theories.

    July 27, 2014 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  9. Bad news

    44% would still vote for Obama and even worse 55% would vote for Hillary Clinton? The country is DOOMED. Prepare for the worse because the nightmare now will be considered the good old days.

    July 27, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  10. Linda Atkinson

    Please Mickey Mouse could beat Mitt Romney. He isn't likable, he isn't in touch with lower class voters, and he is isn't a candidate that many women, in fact I would say...most, women would ever support. The GOP has a real disconnect with women voters and until the far right stops its war on women's rights most women will not support them.

    July 27, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  11. Wade

    If true then this proves Americans have learned nothing because Clinton is even worse than Obama!

    July 27, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  12. just saying

    OsoMartinez
    Haterz will always hate.
    -–

    i agree. when is the left going to stop hating this country and trying to destroy it?

    July 27, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  13. just saying

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

    no, just proves a lot are afraid of being called a racist. hopefully that fear disappears and the brain engages when they get in the polling booth.

    July 27, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. GODZILLA1

    Sorry Mitt but you don't get a do-over against Obama, so why don't you try to get nominated so you can lose to Clinton. Then you will be like William J. Bryan, Henry Clay, Thomas E. Dewey, Adlai E. Stevenson, only NOT as intelligent as any of them.

    July 27, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. Gary

    Obama told us that the Russians are no threat...their threat ended years ago.

    He is such a smart man!!

    July 27, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  16. TM

    polls for a man who stole millions of American jobs vs the President who has created millions of jobs.

    July 27, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  17. J

    I think it would be interesting to throw Trey Gowdy into the mix and see what the polls say. A lot of people probably still don't know a lot about him, but he's gaining some popularity. I wouldn't be surprised though if he aimed more for Attorney General first.

    July 27, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. KungFuKool

    Romney 2016!

    signed the DNC

    July 27, 2014 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Romney would have had us in 4 wars and counting. He is a out of touch Billion air. He has little to offer me. The only reason Obama's numbers are down is the American people need a civics lesson. The House has the Power of the purse. The President can get emergency monies for a crisis. These Teapublicnas won't do their jobs. They wont bring the jobs bill to the floor. It has renewable energy jobs in it. Boehner's House of Pain can't allow that. How will they get their gifts and kickbacks from Oil and Gas companies? These men in The House are trolls. They only are working 130 days this year. How nice for them. I wish I could make 200,000 for working 130 days. What a rip off of Americans. They get their health care not us. They get a good wage not us. They get shelter. Not us. Why are we paying them mor3e then the min. Wage. They are federal employees. They won't pay their aids. These men are vile. Ryan's plan for the poor is a TROJEN HORSE. Don't believe for one min. his warm and fuzzy lies. Kinder, gentler my a$$. He is a fool. He is a rich kid who never went without anything. Just like Romney. Romney and his wife are the biggest snobs. They care nothing about us. They are in it to make lots of money due to all the insider trading in D.C. Romney only looks good because the House of Pain is still not doing anything they are suppose to be doing. Now they attacked the ACA. These racists will do anything to make Obama look bad. They are using bait and switch. To bad you don't know a trick when you see one.

    July 27, 2014 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  20. Ken

    Just amazes me that no one seems to have learned their lesson after electing our current community leader who's approval rating continues to plummet. Now 55% are willing to elect Hillary who has done absolutely nothing in any of the titles she's held.

    July 27, 2014 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  21. Bilbo

    Sorry folks...we're past the point of no return...it's hopeless. This all ends with an armed rebellion.

    July 27, 2014 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  22. san

    What a farce..Romney is a loser who hides his money offshore so he doesn't have to pay his fair share of taxes and also sends Jobs offshore. He's just another corporate crook not fit to shine anyone's shoes. Is he even American, he sure doesn't act like one. HELLO....Christie or Perry for President..ha ha ha ha ..talk about crooks, these two Republican Governors top the charts, they're worse than Governor Deal of Ga..and that's saying a lot. The GOP has nothing to offer in their closet that is of Presidential material, nothing! When all the GOP has going on in their party is to take from the American people and give to the already obscenely wealthy, the party will continue to wander in the desert for years to come and deservedly so.

    July 27, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. marjee123

    Same old polls they pulled up the last time. Remember they had Mitt so convinced he was far ahead that he invited all those rich guys in their jets, had a big old party planned and Rove had a hissy fit because their hack job didn't work in Ohio. So they went into their archives and pulled these numbers out again. OH CNN and Gallup you wonderful pollers where did you get those numbers again. OH, the republican side of the House..I thought so.

    July 27, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. jon wilson

    I wonder what Obama thinks when he reads continuous stories like this? You would think it would sink in eventually.

    July 27, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. Patrick R. Tull

    This is absolute rubbish. The polls in 2012 also had Romney beating Obama. The President will still beat Romney today. People like to talk a lot of BS but when it boils down to a decision that will effect their daily lives Obama win without a doubt. Lok at the stock market, we have recovered ALL of the jobs lost in 2008. Unemployment is at the lowest level since 2006 the banks have recovered from the melt down in 2008. All this was accomplished with unpresidented obstructionism. Can you imagine how much better the country would be doing with a little from republicans?

    July 27, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
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