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.
There is anti-Obama propaganda every day and weak minds lap it up. Romney fiinished his term as governor with a 34% approval rating – 48th out of 50 governors. Clinton spinelessly voted to authorize Bush's invasion and occupation of Iraq. A failed governor and a failed senator, just what weak minds crave.
Maybe the poll is really saying anyone but Obama.
This poll proves that Hillary (not Elizabeth Warren) is the Democrats' best hope of beating a Republic ticket in 2016.
I can say, with 100% certainty, that I would vote for Paul over Clinton and Clinton over Romney.
We have more employable unemployed not because of a lack of leadership, but because of a surplus of greedy companies looking to increase their profits. They can do that by cutting human beings off the payroll and shipping other jobs to cheaper workers overseas.
It'll be pretty interesting once they realize that it's a snake eating its own tail. The employed workers bought their products (or bought products from other people, who may have bought their employer's products). Take those jobs away, and people have less (or no) money to spend. Doesn't really help that much when you have really tiny expenses...but no one can afford to buy your products any longer! The greedy will one day find themselves consumed by their own vice!
Obama is an utter failure. The WORLD awaits a new American leader, and its NOT A DEMOCRAT.
If memory serves me right, the polls were predicting a Romney win before the election. I doubt that some kind of straw poll of 1000 plus people is a true indication of what would happen if there was a do over.
This is so stupid. We can't change the past. Why don't we have polls for Iraq War do-over? Vietnam War do-over. Kardashian TV show do-over. Pregnant unmarried Palin do-over. Rick Perry Oops debate do-over.
Oh would you give it a rest CNN? Romney lost, Obama won....GET OVER IT FINALLY! ! We had to endure 8 years of the Bush regime, you will survive the Obama presidency.
CNN? A CNN poll? Not even a noble decline. Full out tilt to the bottom.
With Romney as president, we'd be in another war (Iran) and the republicans who are crying now about the budget would be screaming "we're at war, this isn't the time to debate budgets!! Aren't you people Patriots?"
They would throw every policy that they hold near and dear overboard as long as their command and chief says its a good thing. Maybe one of them Romney kids – Chip or Thad or Blair or Carson could sign up to fight? Oh wait, that's for other people's kid to do.
"The poll also indicates the race for the 2016 GOP nomination remains a wide open contest with no obvious frontrunner." At this rate GOPers will end up with another Romney ... to lose.
LOVE how the economy and 401ks have flourished under Obama. Only one who should have reason to complain are the poor but even then, doubt Romney would do much to help them. Firmly believe America would be worse under Romney.
Well of course, Romney has the advantage in this poll of not having to be subjected to criticisms from his destructive policies because people were wise not to elect him. Besides if Romney had been elected, all things being exactly the same as today the right wingnuts would be fellating themselves over how awesome the job creation is and that the stock market has taken off, which is exactly what has happened since 2012.
But since Obama is in office, none of those positive things count.
You folks need to find real news and report it. A grade school kid could have concluded same and possibly reported it better.
When are the American people going to realize that electing the President of the United States should depend upon more than just their skin color or sex or personality??? It should depend on what they know, how they work with others, who they choose to listen to and advise them, as well as what they have done and how they accomplished their achievements. Didn't we learn that by electing Mr. Obama who had no track record what so ever? Now are we going to do the same thing to have our first woman president? What has Ms. Hillary Clinton achieved? A failed foriegn policy as Secretary of State. God help us all if she is our next President.
If only we could go back...look what we've done to our country....
Hmmmm, what a poll. Just exactly how does anyone "randomly" poll anyone, and get 56% "independents"? You can't get a quarter of that many on a national election night, and ORC hooks 'em on a "random" poll???
Funny stuff Romney wins pretend election does this mean he gets to live in the pretend white house or maybe this poll is from the folks who did the poll that said he would win in 2012
and this makes sense because? The country is doing much better than it was years ago. unemployment is at a 6 year low etc. Why not be happy with where we are and work together to make it better. all of these what-ifs are concrete assessments because they are not based on facts. Facts are the numbers you have right in front of you
No such thing as do overs. We would likely be in worse shape, and at war, of Romoney had been elected
haha. I read it here, so it must be true.
We told them to be careful what they wished for.
Some still holding on are doing it for the sake of self pride. They don't want to admit they were wrong.
No, How about all the old congress republican and tea party who have long political carrers, supposed "experiece" and got us ibutnto the iran contra mess? Dumb pols stay dumb, no matter how long they work in politics :( Sad, but true..
Wow. I got a good laugh reading over the Mitt haters in their perceived superiority over the rest if us who couldn't even spell billionaire or too correctly. Deliciously funny.
Anyone who still believes in a President who is a documented liar (you can keep your plan; you can keep your doctor), among a few, who goes to fundraisers instead of showing his face to people who likely voted for him and are suffering economic destruction in their towns because of an influx of illegal immigrants, hears about evil that his administration is doing, "through the newspaper" and on and on and on.; how can you live with your conscious?
If it doesn't affect you directly, it doesn't matter that he lied to every single one of us? You don't care how his sheer ineptness in his position has negatively impacted so many people? The only people who are really fans of his are some of the black community (because he is part black) and those who want amnesty. People are not calling him the worst President in history because he's a good President. He's horrible and the people that I know who voted for him a second time are so regretful because they see how he is destroying America the Beautiful. No other place on earth like it and prayerfully a place we can save despite the mess he has made.