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

    What a bogus poll. It is never going to happen and Mr. Romney will never become the POTUS. His own party will see to that.

    July 27, 2014 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  2. Craig

    Well here's an idea. I think most will agree, the government is broken. It obeys their lobbyists and large campaign contributors, and (be honest with yourself)...the conservative right is, and will be completely bent on destroying the President...no matter what he does, at the expense of the American people. In fact...the more socially disturbed and confused the American public becomes...the less power they then possess, so the main objective of the conservative right and the top 5% basking in money...is to LIE to you. they WANT you to fail! They WANT politics to be the very mess it is.

    So...you want political solutions where you could clearly place the blame on the true enemy of the people on Capitol Hill? How about this...let's get 20,000 Americans together from all sides of the political spectrum...let them draw out a course for the next 2.5 years, and call it the peoples mandate, of legislation we believe is for the good of the Country. From this, instead of bashing the President, you will then be able to blame the House of Representatives for those things you expect of your government to pass over the next 2 years, where as...expect NOTHING to get done otherwise. You will then see that It's not the Presidents fault as he waits for those bills to pass the House and the Senate.

    Yes, it's unfortunately, and bottom line...NOTHING GOOD will persist due to the ridiculous behavior stemming from the house of representatives, and sadly 33% of Americans are seen as too psychotic to give a damn. They just LOVE bashing a president with his hands tied. It's true...and It's depressing to say the least.

    July 27, 2014 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  3. SkepticalOne

    All the GOP has is the usual suspects. Nuts, morons, and religious zealots. Romney is not a moron but read the book of Mormon and tell me that he is not a nut and a zealot.

    July 27, 2014 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  4. blakenaustin

    The only thing surprising about these numbers is that it is not 98% to 2% in favor of Romney. Far left voters are so naive, so out of touch with reality, so unwilling to acknowledge lies, moral bankruptsy, fiscal irresponsibility, incompetence, and criminal behavior with one of their own. Very sad that a large percentage of our voting populace has no business voting.

    July 27, 2014 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  5. Here is an idea

    Let's split into 2...let the south have their republican president and the North and West have their democrat and see how it turns out. Chances are there would be another great migration out of the south. You also wouldn't have the financial power of the north and california to pay for all the government subsidized welfare states in the south...wonder how that would work.

    Rather amusing actually that majority of the country (the south) who relies the most on government subsidize are always the ones bemoaning whenever anyone brings them up as unamerican. Without them the majority of the southern state economies would cease to exist and would be in economic ruin. So yeah...let's try this for a few decades and see how it works out for ya...GL with that

    July 27, 2014 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  6. Brian

    Romney beats Obama? And then we are truly screwed. As is America. WAR, good God y'all, when is it beautiful? Absolutely never! Unless your a Republican.

    July 27, 2014 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  7. BlueDog

    Pointless poll. Kerry beats Bush by 20 points.

    July 27, 2014 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  8. JT

    If we learned anything from the 2012 election its that these polls are more accurate then we'd like them to be.

    July 27, 2014 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  9. Patriot

    This is about as silly as those polls that had Romney ahead in the election. I guess it makes Republicans feel good, even when they pay for the results.

    July 27, 2014 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  10. Duke

    Romney would have transferred even more wealth to the wealthiest Americans and he would have succumbed to the hawks and tea baggers who would be running the show. Bottm line war, at home and abroad, unemployment, more for the wealthy les for the poor and staff meetings on the varanda with mint julips all around.

    July 27, 2014 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  11. alohagw

    I can hardly wait for HIlliary to run on that list of accomplishments.
    1. We were broke.
    2. Had trouble finding mortgages for our houses. (plural)
    Yes indeed a fine example .....

    July 27, 2014 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  12. David

    I have a lot of problems with Obama but anyone who would actually vote for Romney or practically anyone else in the Republican party needs to have their head examined. Anti-intelligence, anti-female, racist, and pretty much anti-reality. I fear for the future of humanity when I see stuff like this. Do we need better than Obama? Sure. But Romney would be a monumental leap backward and would have sent the US further into the stone age.

    July 27, 2014 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  13. kmp

    I love these polls because if memory serves me right did they not have Romney winning big time in 2012. Whatever.

    July 27, 2014 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  14. Melissa

    Ummm, of course he does. Because Romney hasn't been in power, and Obama has. It would be the same if Romney had been president. Obama would be higher. This is a ridiculous and useless comparison.

    July 27, 2014 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Hell, Romney would already have us in three new wars, so he could, you know, look "tough". (Looking tough being ALL-IMPORTANT to Republicans.) Hey, Putin spends a lot of time "looking tough" – how about the Repubs consider HIM as their nominee? Repub "party" will simply continue to shrink as their tedious, old, white, southern, ultra-conservative base dies off, and they won't be able to attract any new voters that don't already watch Fox Comedy (er, "News"). The less influence Republicans have, the better. Altogether now, Repubs: "Hold America Back! Hold America Back! Hold America Back!"

    July 27, 2014 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  16. Cathy S

    This is silly. Romney has been largely out of view. If he were running today, he would be right out in public and people will remember all of the reasons they hated him in the first place.

    July 27, 2014 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  17. worknman24hours

    Romney was terrifying as a candidate because he was so out of touch with foreign policy and the majority of how Americans live and he still is.

    I am amazed the republicans seem determined to field men who cater to the filthy rich and no one else.

    They seem determined to put the Democrats back in the White house in the next election too.

    Very disheartening.

    July 27, 2014 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  18. skytag

    This is just stupid. People have had time to forget what they didn't like about Romney and he has been in the job to see what he'd really do.

    July 27, 2014 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  19. RS

    This poll really matters.

    July 27, 2014 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  20. skytag

    Srcactus: "we have more than ever employable that are unemployed and all because of a lack of leadership"

    This is the Republican narrative but there is no objective reason to believe it. The claim it's due to "lack of leadership" is not supported by any facts or evidence whatsoever. This is pure partisan spin, the result of a problem looking for someone to blame.

    The problem with the economy isn't that the recovery is has been so slow, but that this is the new normal. In fact, economic growth would have been much slower under Bush had the economy not been artificially goosed by unwarranted deficit spending, a doubling of consumer debt between 2000 and '07, the worst housing bubble in U.S. history, and Fed policies intended to encourage growth but which in fact encouraged financial speculation and all of the aforementioned.

    The idea that Mitt Romney or any president could magically replicate the growth rates we saw a few decades ago is a pipe dream.

    July 27, 2014 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  21. JJ

    Well it doesn't matter. I have great faith in the American public always picking the wrong option.

    July 27, 2014 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  22. skytag

    jeff: "We told you so, the worst president ever."

    Who are the "we" to whom you refer" Republicans? Rush Limbaugh fans? Certainly not any objective, honest group. No rankings of president by scholars put Obama near the bottom. This is just a sound meant to keep people like you ginned up about a president who can't run for reelection so you won't nothing Republicans have nothing to sell.

    July 27, 2014 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  23. JJ

    Romney had a decent shot at winning until he sunk himself with his infamous "47%" sneer at nearly half the population of the US. Making yourself sound like an arrogantly snotty rich guy is not a winning strategy, Mitt.

    July 27, 2014 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  24. Motley

    Sure are a lot of butthurt liberals on here sounding off,.. hitting all the political rhetoric and hyperbole along the way,... racists, gop would have us in 4 wars, Romney only for the rich, etc, etc,...

    Some of you need to THINK and not enthusiastically absorb every talking point and regurgitate,...

    July 27, 2014 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  25. otterwithkids

    I can’t imagine why anyone would vote for Clinton over Romney. Mitt is probably the most qualified Presidential candidate in at least the last 50 years. He’s honest, intelligent, experienced, strong, hard-working, compassionate, charitable, and—perhaps most of all—competent. The only things he’s not are young, black, and female, none of which has any bearing whatsoever on one’s ability to run the country (with the possible exception of young, which could be a significant drawback).

    So I guess the question is: what matters most to you, in a President? If it comes down to Clinton vs. Romney, would you rather vote for what’s between the candidates’ ears or what’s between their legs? If the former, I applaud your ethics and encourage you to study the candidates extensively, to determine which you think would do a better job. If the latter, you’re a bigot, and I sincerely hope you stay away from the voting booth.

    July 27, 2014 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
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