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. 5giggy5

    See living in the past has no value

    July 27, 2014 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  2. hornacek

    I call shenanigans on this poll. American are not *this* stupid.

    July 27, 2014 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  3. JT

    The mask is fully off with Obama ("if you like your health plan" etc...), and people aren't liking what they are seeing.

    July 27, 2014 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  4. hornacek

    I call shenanigans on this poll. Americans are not *this* stupid.

    July 27, 2014 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  5. ted

    Had the Supreme Court not elected George W Bush/Dick Cheney president/dictator in 2000, we would never have had the two insane wars in Afghanistan or Iraq.

    July 27, 2014 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  6. Gunderson

    Well, Let's See,
    Over the last 100 plus years the liberal's have been promising the peasants the moon. But so far there is nothing but promises. The country is in no better shape than the 1930's. But the peasants still buy all the snake oil the liberal's are selling. Here you have two different people. One very successful, the other just a pipe dream with no plan in place. So who did you pick? The man selling the snake oil!!! Hope you have a good retirement plan.

    July 27, 2014 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  7. Greg

    What a ridiculous survey. Did you're respondents make their decisions based on Romney's handling of the presidency over the last two years. No, of course not, he didn't have the job. You can't get more Apples and Oranges that this.

    July 27, 2014 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  8. Robert

    IF IF IF .the queen had two she would be king.......Romney could never handle the pressure.....Obama beat Romney, that should be the end of the story .....and next up Hilary......GOP- mostly religious fanatics or like the Koch Brothers, Adelson, and big contributors, they want want want something......Take Rick Scott (please) he bought his way into office with money from HCA.....its all rigged .......politicians are for themselves not the people that put them in office......it sucks..

    July 27, 2014 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  9. Pat C

    Why even bother throwing Obama into this mix??? He is not a factor in the coming election, so there was not reason to include him.

    July 27, 2014 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  10. Dan

    You get what you vote for. Never underestimate the ignorance of the American voter.

    July 27, 2014 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  11. Disappointed American

    We are in trouble! While we worry about if the Romney could now beat the sitting President in an election that already occurred. We have so many things wrong in our country where do we begin. How about how many laws the house, senate and President have actually put into law to help our ever growing issues. Unemployment, income inequality, immigration etc. etc.

    I recognize the President inherited a crappy situation, but he knew that going into it I am sure. Your there now so get something done.

    So no pass for him, the republicans could not rally their base to win 2 elections and are still bitter. So in their minds its okay to be sour about it even 6 years later. So instead of even trying to get anything done lets just obstruct the guy in ever way.

    If he tries to move any chess pieces then call foul and sue him and say he over steps his authority. Sounds like the school yard to me. Our political future is so dismal. What do we do now?

    July 27, 2014 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  12. Tom in Desoto, TX

    Romney did nothing in government for the last 5+ years. Monday morning quarterbacking or polling is the same thing – ridiculous. Why not do an imaginary poll replacing Romney with McCain or Palin. Of course if McCain were to pass away and Palin took over, you'd have to take into account that Palin would have quit in two years, if not impeached before. I don't recall seeing a make believe poll between Bush and Kerry. Kerry would have been better off by doing nothing. For weeks now you would have heard from baseball people "If the season ended today....add results" The thing is the season doesn't ended for another 2 months. One question – Would Romney have made the call that got bin Laden? The only thing Romney did with conviction is smile, he never did answer a question.

    July 27, 2014 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  13. steve

    The 80's wants their foreign policy back.

    -Vladimir Putin

    July 27, 2014 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  14. tom a

    When people are discontent with their lives they hate their leaders, why not. I do not think we will have another president who is loved by all. We live in a deeply divided society with a system that cannot possibly work for everyone. The media spreads the drama and plays one side against the other in order to make more money. We worship celebrity and spit on those below us. Its not the president, its us and its the collective "we" that is the problem.

    July 27, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  15. Gop USa

    I dont think the guy who believes if he clickes his heels twice so he can activate his Mormon Magical Underwear and tap into its powers of their cultist polygamist god Joe Smith would have done much better, the gop needed a better candidate. Romney was not the answer because he flip flopped too much and could not be trusted, another more conservative candidate would nave been better who was christian, had morals and values, not this Magical Underwear cultist crap......

    July 27, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  16. Johnkc

    People have forgotten Romney's stance on many things with their short memory: Increase defense spending, cut social programs, get into people's personal lives with social rulings, ie. abortion, birth control, tax cuts for business while many businesses flee the USA to escape taxes, his tax dedution of $75,000 for a race horse for his wife among the few.

    July 27, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  17. Kelly Boy

    Can not wait for Bill and Hill to be back in the WH where they belong.

    July 27, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  18. rs

    Yeah, and today, Humphrey would beat Nixon, and Kerry would beat Bush.....

    July 27, 2014 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  19. TM

    I seen some dumb polls lately, but this poll is the dumbest, Obama beat Romney, so go away Romney.

    July 27, 2014 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  20. Greg

    Thanks for nothing. America !!! I tried telling people not to vote for that do nothing Obama

    July 27, 2014 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  21. Anonymous

    Just like your polls said Romney would win in 2012.... riiiiight.

    July 27, 2014 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  22. Stoner

    Democratics need to step down on this election ,it would be a repeat of obamas failures seeing Clinton run for office

    July 27, 2014 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  23. mutantsubhuman

    Quit living in the past. The problem exists now and must be corrected.

    July 27, 2014 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  24. Smellferd

    Romney is yesterday's news. He was not a good candidate to begin with. The truth is that our current president has abdicated his responsibilities and allowed the border situation to become out of hand. Report on that and stop wasting time on made up fluff stories. Move past your bias cnn.

    July 27, 2014 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  25. Veritas

    The American voters are largely very very stupid. I mean, they elected Reagan, for crying out loud.

    July 27, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
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