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. Rick Robeson

    Since you can't vote for Obama again, wouldn't you vote for anybody else?

    July 27, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. Ruppert Jenkins

    Romney was the right man, but his timing to run was off just a tad. The public hadn't quite reached the full Peak Of Disgust by November 2012.
    But now? That peak has not only peaked, but it's going to peak even higher.

    July 27, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. Voice of Truth

    Obama is proving to be one of the worst presidents in history and he apparently doesn't care anyone which is even worse. He's clearly checked out which is why he's out fundraising on the taxpayers time rather doing actual governing. Romney has issues but he would definitely have been a more effective president.

    July 27, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  4. fwlrcj

    don't believe it because the last thing people would want is a GOP especially now

    July 27, 2014 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. Steven

    What a bogus poll...a thousand people by landline? Hardly a good demographic sampling... just a bunch of old white folks.

    July 27, 2014 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. san

    If you wish to live under an Oligarchy/Plutocracy much like Russia, ruled by billionaires and corporations that want to pay you peanuts with no benefits, then vote for a Republican or T, you then will get your wish.

    July 27, 2014 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  7. jeff

    We told you so, the worst president ever.

    July 27, 2014 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    The only way Hillary in the White House could possible be good is if the Republicans take the Senate and keep the House. Hillary's only chance is if Biden doesn't run. He runs, and Obama has to laud him as the most qualified and not her? Why you ask? Otherwise he will basically be telling the country that the most qualified and capable person to replace me is the person I didn't select as my VP in 2008. The Democratic Machine is not ready for a female otherwise she would have been elected already, assuming she could have beaten McCain. Make no mistake, the Machine is priming for a Rahm Emmanuel run in 2020 if the GOP retakes the house. Hillary is old news to the DNC, contrary to what they would like you to believe.

    July 27, 2014 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  9. onestarman

    I suppose this is a good example of why Polls only reflect what the people who are taking the Polls want them to Reflect. In BOTH 2008 and 2012 we were led to Believe that the Presidential Race was 'Too close to Call' – because saying that generated the most money for Poll takers and the Media who covered them.

    July 27, 2014 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    it is sickening how all the media has been disrespecting PRESIDENT OBAMA with all these polls. When GOP Getting Over People has been against him since day one of him being elected President. They dont even call him President Obama he's been dealing trying to fix what bush messed up in his two terms

    July 27, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  11. Srcactus

    The difference is voting with ones heart instead of ones head. The world is a mess according to Madeline Albright and our economy has tilted to the big money changes with the excesses of newly printed money, we have more than ever employable that are unemployed and all because of a lack of leadership, most likely a direct result of no experience.

    July 27, 2014 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. Joe Videmantas

    Just shows how we project our hopes and fears on to candidates. Even those of us who are reasonably satisfied with Obama's presidency aren't hoping for more than what we've already seen. Meanwhile, some people still fear Obama, while the ones who thought Mitt was a good idea haven't had the chance to get disillusioned. But we got to know Mitt pretty well last campaign, better than we know Clinton, so she can still carry people's hopes.

    If McCain or Romney had won, six years later Obama would be winning this kind of rematch.

    July 27, 2014 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  13. Captain Tom

    I am embarrassed to be an American. Romney is and arrogant buffoon who is out of touch with working America!

    July 27, 2014 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  14. Dragon

    Sadly it took another 4 year dose of this corrupt and imncompetent president and his party befroe the average voter reaalized what a tragedy 2nd term would be. Just shows that the average voter is none too bright.

    July 27, 2014 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  15. tafugate

    having twice voted for president obama, i'm extremely disappointed in his performance. i had my finger on the romney button in '12, but i just couldn't overlook the 47 percent comment. rather than discounting 47 percent of americans, he should have looked for ways he could connect.

    i really wanted to vote for mccain in '08, but there's just no way with palin vice president. but if i had another chance at '12, i would most certainly vote for romney.

    July 27, 2014 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  16. Dennis

    People have short memories. They can't even remember why they disliked Romney.

    July 27, 2014 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  17. nemo0037

    Seriously, is CNN so bored with the events of the day that they have to go making crap up? And why is it that you twits can't let Romney, the Marie Antoinette of the 21st Century, just go away and stop trying to destroy the American working class?

    July 27, 2014 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  18. yep

    Articles such as these are pointless and serve only to stir up dem/repub bashing.

    July 27, 2014 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  19. JFS3

    The die-hard Obama fans need to open up a little. You can be a Democrat and dislike Obama. You can be a Republican and dislike Romney. Overall, Obama is solidifying his legacy as an experiment in authoritarianism and the recent petitions by the press groups are more proof of this. Where's the transparency now, Obama?

    July 27, 2014 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  20. thunder1road

    This is just more pre-election propaganda to trash Obama and the Democrats. Don't believe these polls or the headlines about Boner suing the Prez or Palin impeaching the Prez. We have to remember that these are the same people who told us that the Teletubbies are gay.

    July 27, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  21. Mike500

    Johnny57, we WLL lost in 2012. At least 53% know it now. The rest are the 47& who would vote for anyone with more free giveaways.

    July 27, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  22. nobody

    Just going to say, Obama has been ranked as the #17 best president while George W. Bush is #34. Is Obama the worst president? Hardly! Just look up Warren G. Harding and Herbert Hoover. They're the worst.

    July 27, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  23. Ben

    What does it matter, you are essentially given a choice of 2 people to vote for, both are politicians thus both are corrupt and self serving, who you vote for makes no difference.

    July 27, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  24. thunder1road

    Don't believe these phony polls. It's all pre-election rattle and hum. They want to sue the Prez – they want to impeach the Prez – all propaganda to get more of their corporate Rommunists elected to office in November. Remember, these same people told us that Saddam had WMDs and the Teletubbies are gay.

    July 27, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  25. too late

    Funny thing. If I in any way say something negative about Mr. Obama, I'm automatically called a racist. So-the 95% of African-Americans who voted for him aren't? I HATE our current president and his lying ways. He will do everything to destroy our nation, and is every moment trying to find a way to have rich folk (not me) pay the way for poor folk (not me) all pretending to be encouraging the middle class dream. The man is a liar and a cheat, and he is abusing your rights. Do any of you even care?

    July 27, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
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