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.
Sorry CNN, this is a major fail. Who authorized this drivel? This is a stupid story and a big waste of time and money. The only poll that matters is the one that happens every four years in November and is open to all Americans and not just the few contacted by your pollsters. Please stick to journalism and not "what-if" webpage fillers. This one's for Anderson Cooper's "Ridicu-list."
it is sickening how all the media has been disrespecting PRESIDENT OBAMA with all these polls.
You mean the very same liberal press that sold this incompetent buffoon to the American voters and has been covering up his disasters and lies since he took office? That media??
The difference is this is a small sample and you don't even know if everyone that responded is a eligible voter. My 17 year old could have answered the phone and given his opinion.
You represent WHAT? I see your face and I know my chose NEVER to have children was and is the best decision. Our nation and world is over. Self centered evil people like you and yours make me SAD you reinforce the EVIL your ways make me angry and assured that life as it was designed will never be. You confirm we the people will take no more for much longer. No one person will stop you but the people who suffer and pay for YOUR whims are tired and SAD and in pain every time you open your mouth and show your face slithering thru the crowd.
Lesson from this poll? None whatsoever! Which executive decision has Romney taken since the election to justify him being placed side by side with the president in a poll? These pollssssssssssss don't make any sense....to me.
Same poll had Romney winning in a landslide. The poll once again is wrong!
Given some some of the ridiculous comments made by republicans, it is hard to believe the American people could be so dumb to elect a republican President.
2004 Do-over: Kerry Trounces Shrub.
Obama won because he lied through his teeth and the media supported his lies. The Dems played the race card, the class-warfare card, the war on women card, every card they could think of. The idiot Tea-Party staying home and pouting didn't help either. Even now most on the Left still have their blinders on.
Obama could not lie his way to another win. That Liar of the Year award for all of his Obamacare lies weighs heavy around his poll numbers. Nobody trusts this lying dog anymore, well except all the brain dead lefty koolaide drinkers. They still think he should be out there lying because we have so many low IQ voters that will believe anything. This is how Obama got elected to begin with.
What is it that Americans always want it to dumb down the conversation. This type of polling has little relevance as no one can see how the other person would perform!! This is only useful for all armchair QBs when they have little or zero idea on any one event and yet pretending they know it all!! Let's face it, most of us are still living in the past and have no clue about things outside our own little bubble.
Romney crawled in a hole after suffering his second failed presidential bid for a reason. He's said nothing about anything except the economy for the past two years for a reason. Romney knows that the last thing that he wants is responsibility for anything other than his bank account.
strong and CAPABLE?.........!!!!! BENGHAZI!!!!!!.......
"If" stories are for children; it did not happen, will not happen, and will never happen
I've just read through all these comments and still can't believe the absolute garbage that comes out of some of the conservatives' mouths on here. They keep repeating the same old, same old, same old stuff over and over and over and none of it has any remote connection to the truth! Calling the President a liar is such a lie in itself! Let's see if conservatives can get this – I know fourth graders can. If I tell the fourth graders that we are going outside after lunch to play kickball, and then during lunchtime a big thunderstorm comes up and we can't go outside, did I lie to the class? Even nine-year-olds know I didn't lie to them – the conditions that I made the promise under changed. Why can't conservatives get ahold of this fact? It's Rush and his buddies that are doing the lying and keeping the lies going.
Right....and in Bush-Gore do-over the American people would have chose Gore. Oh wait a minute...they did choose him! I'm certain that in a Bush-Kerry do-over the American people would have chose Kerry. I think the poll is lame. I don't think if the election were held today Romney would beat the President. They are just too ideologically different. I do not believe that folks changing their votes would have such a huge ideological enough to change their vote.
This just add's validity to Bill Maher's statement that most Americans are stupid.
Most disgusting of all is the Obama administration's utter failure to provide the VA hospitals with an acceptably high number of disabled war veterans.
Honestly? Ho one gives a crap what CNN polls say. They edit the questions, ask forked questions, and make sure that the operators elicit the answers they desire. When Rand Paul won the top polls, they reported on Ted Cruz, and IGNORED Paul. They reported on the runner up – and ignored the winner. Tell me that's not biased and, well, just stupid.
DC had it's gun laws overturned yesterday and it's the last place in the USA that now allows Concealed Carry and Open Carry, yet, did you read the headlines?
CNN is bought and paid for by democrats and they deserve NOTHING.
The fact that Obama ever got elected tells me the voters are flat out stupid.
Romney would have put us in a depression and still be trying to figure out what went wrong. He had even less foreign policy experience than Obama and not the good sense to pick a vice president that had some. We would have either had troops everywhere or been here hiding as the world came apart. NO THANK YOU. Romney was a disaster waiting to happen and fortunately most of the American people knew that.
You guys better suck it up. It is what it is. You're playing into the foments of our destruction. We made a decision as a people we'll sort it out in fair court when the time comes around, otherwise it's divided we fall.
Irrelevant because come election time Democrats remind freeloaders that their moola depends on Dems getting elected.
For the Love of God CNN, stop trying to sell us Hillary. Most of the country doesn't feel she's fit to be president. She has a history of lying and has too much baggage.
The poll with Romney Obama is silly. Of course the guy who doesn't have the weight of the world on his shoulders looks better. It's like the new romance often looks better than the spouse - until you pursue the new romance and find out they have flaws, too.