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

    There are no do overs in life. Romney got his butt kicked 332-206 in the 2012 electoral vote. He took his shot and was soundly beaten. This poll is worthless.

    July 27, 2014 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  2. Dantes

    No surprise. If you were dumb enough to vote for Obama, you're dumb enough to vote for the Hag.

    July 27, 2014 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  3. Bubba

    Romney running again is Hillary's dream; because the GOP needs the Conservative Vote which is not 100% behind a guy who believes the President of his church is a prophet who chats with God daily, and believes that he will get his own Romney Planet when he dies.
    Romney needs to go away, because he cannot rally the Right, and he cannot be tolerated by the Left.

    July 27, 2014 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  4. Glen

    What a stupid article. This isn't the playground, we are not 5 years old, and there are no do overs.
    Put your big boy boxers on and lets get to work fixing the issues.

    July 27, 2014 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  5. Bill Davis

    Clinton would be lucky to make it out of her On my way! Arty, same as last time.

    July 27, 2014 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  6. mag

    Who did they survey you wonder? Obama may be below 50% in approval ratings but republicans are in the toilet.

    July 27, 2014 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  7. bad boy

    Statistics don't lie, people who interpret them do.

    July 27, 2014 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  8. Bonnie

    Can we rewind the tape to 1998?

    July 27, 2014 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    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 |

    Please do. I will enjoy watching all you home grown terrorists take on the US. Military which is the strongest military in the history of Earth with your pee shooters.

    July 27, 2014 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  10. For Obama

    President Obama had to straighten up Bush's mess. And on top of that, we had another great depression hit when he first took office. Call it a recession if you want, but this is the first time in my life that I have seen banks fail and have to close their doors. Larger banks would have failed if President Obama hadn't bailed them out. And GM would have become a failed car industry if President Obama hadn't bailed them out. That is why this president has had to borrow so much money. I don't care what his poll is. I say "Mr. President, You have done an excellent job recovering the economy. We are not fully recovered yet, but we are progressing. Keep up the good work and don't let the GOP get you down."

    July 27, 2014 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  11. IndyMike

    "Romney would have had us in 4 wars and counting. He is a out of touch Billion air."

    So instead we have a "community organizer" who has never worked for a living and is running this country into the ground.

    July 27, 2014 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  12. Mogesi Mogesii

    Wait a minute, wasn't that the same 9% that brought about some issues during the 2012 elections?

    July 27, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  13. In the middle

    Obama has done fine, given the situation he's had to work under. The economy is moving forward, albeit more slowly than anyone would like. He's not started any new wars and avoiding attempting to be the 'world police force.'

    It's a shame that Congress cannot pass a simple jobs without some some 'poison pill' provision that simply will not pass the Senate nor get the president's signature.

    July 27, 2014 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  14. Whatevz

    So what? in a 2000 or 2004 do-over, Dubya would go back to being a drunk, loudmouth Texas governor.

    July 27, 2014 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  15. richie

    I would rather vote for my kitchen toaster before voting for Romney

    July 27, 2014 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  16. wolf

    If Romney had won, this article would be saying "Obama tops Romney"

    July 27, 2014 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  17. TDALL

    GODZILLA1 said: "Sorry Mitt but you don't get a do-over against Obama..."

    GODZILLA1, it's not Mitt that wants the do-over, it's the American people–hence, a poll. Mitt (and probably many of those who voted for Mitt) have been doing just fine under Obama and would likely do fine under any incompetent president. It's the people who voted for Obama that are having buyer's remorse and are the ones still struggling.

    July 27, 2014 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  18. PharmGrl

    Obama was re elected because the mainstream media carried his water on Obamacare.
    CNN et al failed miserably on reporting the provisions in the 2700 page Obamacare and the effects they would have.
    If they had done their job, there is NO WAY Obama would have been re elected.

    July 27, 2014 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  19. Off A Cough

    The dramatic change in tone of Obama supporters is a better reflection of how America rates our president than any poll.

    The panic is palpable. The defense is shrill. The claims of racism and ad hominem attacks are on the rise, but the substance is all but gone.

    I understand the appeal of Barack Obama, and in 2008, he was given an opportunity to change America. By 2012, we knew enough about him to have warned this was coming – and, in fact, Mitt Romney did. He was right, Obama was wrong.

    America was wrong. We elected the wrong guy.

    July 27, 2014 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  20. kimber3

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

    That more accurately describes those who supported or support Romney; let's see, he was running on the same platform economically, domestically and wrt foreign policy that drove this nation off a CLIFF during and immediately following the Bush terms. Yep, doing the same failed things over again and expecting different results has GOT to be the answer!

    Sitting Presidents traditionally get short shrift in polling and are only appreciated (if at all) after they leave office. One of the President's functions it seems is to serve as scapegoat for the nation's complaints.
    And Obama has endured the most ardent opposition of any President in recent history; nevermind that he inherited the most daunting problems of any President in recent history and has accomplished a tremendous amount regardless (i.e. 9.5 million new private sector jobs created in 52 straight months of private sector growth; lowest increases in federal spending in 60 years; bin laden and dozens of other terrorist king-pins dead or detained; Iraq war officially over and a timetable in place for withdrawal from Afghanistan; Mubarak and Gaddafi (sponsor of terrorism since the time of Nixon) out of power and/or dead and democracy breaking out all over the Arab world; global opinion of the U.S. at the highest levels in decades; etc...) But yeah, he's "the worst President EVER!" lol.

    Bottom line, those who despise Obama would do so no matter what he did or didn't do. If he single-handedly cured cancer and spun straw into gold, they'd vilify him for crashing the gold market and putting oncologists out of work;)

    July 27, 2014 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  21. dr3yec

    LOL Obama sucks and everyone is noticing now. Clinton is to old and sick , McCain 2.0 no thanks. We need a new refreshing face that will actually lead the people of this country.

    July 27, 2014 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  22. John M

    I thought that the Hillary popularity was the triumph of hope over experience. But then I thought about all her accomplishments as Secretary of State. I have listed them below.

    July 27, 2014 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  23. Travelinman

    Clinton still beats Romeny! Just goes to show you that the voting populate is suffering from voters remorse, but is no smarter than before.

    July 27, 2014 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  24. Big Ben

    Oh sure! If he was President we would be at war with Russia and half of America's young people would be in a military draft. Remember we haven't paid off the last two wars yet and we have paid out $262 billion in interest alone. When asking these polls, they should ask them if they would be willing to pay more tax to get what they want.

    July 27, 2014 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  25. Tim

    Looks like Ameri'k'a is still STUPID!!!!!!! If they pick either Clinton over Romney......their still STUPID!!!!!!!! They just don't get it!!
    Oh Well! Enjoy your socialism Ameri'k'a....you voted for it.

    July 27, 2014 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
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