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.
If no one has sense enough to remember when our problems in this country really started. They were caused by republican presidents – not by democratic presidents. why would any sensible person ever vote for a republican?
Ignorance is an unlimited natural resource in the USA and most have a short-term memory!
Monday morning quarterback.
Since Romney is not running for anything, he has my support 100%.
This supports the old adage: "The grass is always greener...."
President Obama is going to past the torch to Hillary Clinton. mitt romney is not presidental material. Russia is no threat to the United States. Russia ivades Ukranie and U.S led by G.W. Bush unjustly invaded Iraq. It's 2014 not 2012, time moves forward not backwards.
Take a poll on "SHould corporations get a tax break for taking companies out of the United States" thats real. mitt romney being president is a bad dream.
Do you have you ObamaCare?
Since y'all all polling do-overs how about Bush Gore. There would not have been a Cheney an there would not have been a second war in Iraq.
And so? Must be a slow news day at CNN. Haven't you worked out all the hypotheticals by now? Get some real news will ya?
The O'bungler is the worst president ever. Don't expect the people he's buying votes from to put down their forty and stop smoking crack long enough to pay attention.
Unemployment is not lower. Some people stopped looking for work. Some people's unemployment benefits ran out and those people are no longer counted in the polls. I blame the idiots who read the stats and "report" their view of the numbers to some of You who read with no understanding of what is going on.
For those of you who think that only Republicans were represented in this poll, you do realize that those same people said they would vote pretty convincingly for Hillary over Romney. Try to spin that one.
Now that's a helpful poll. Hey, Ali would beat Louis. BFD!
Romney as president??????What a joke....he lost big time two or three times before and proved to be dangerous with his thinking about the status of our citizens......remember the "47%????? Well we the voters haven't forgotten!!!..This man has NO qualification to be president.....he's wealthy to a point of having NO idea the plight of our people and has an arrogance that is dangerous in a leader...He HAS NO CHANCE,,,,so don't waste your time ,,effort ,,nor money on him!!!!!
I'm a registered Republican. They lost the last presidential election because they ran a Mormon. If you know anything about the Mormons, you will know why many Christians stayed home. Heavens, what a choice, a socialist anti-American narcissist or a millionaire Mormon. People, we can do better than this. Some of the comments say "Run Romney" paid for by the DNC. I would have to agree. Please Republican's, lets not run Romney again. And let's all pray Hillary does not get elected.
"jeff – We told you so, the worst president ever."
Nobody mentoned W, hush.
these results just show the fickleness of people. Always looking for something better when they perceive things aren't the way THEY want them to be. That job has got to be the worse job ever, especially in our world today and with a useless Congress. I wouldn't want it, don't know why anyone thinks they can really affect change anywhere. To many chefs in the kitchen.
DAX.....I'D LIKE TO SEE YOU PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS......YOU'D NEVER LIVE IT DOWN.....I notice you don't say what the president "HAD TO DO " to win....Just what was this big thing that grabbed you ..... not only that.....Would you lay money against Mrs. Clinton running????.. I bet not because she very likely will run and win!!!!!!!!!!
I am fairly liberal, most always vote democratic and I don't think Obama has done a good job. That being said, Romney would have killed the country, giving further breaks to millionaires and billionaires stating they would "create job" when all they would do is line their pockets and off shore the money. I voted for Hillary in the 2008 primary, if she had run in the 2012 primary, I would have voted for her again. Republicans have no one to blame but the hard core tea partiers, they are holding the country hostage, either with their all over the map version of monetary policy or their Christian theocracy ideals. The Republicans could have won in 2008, all John McCain needed to do was make Mitt Romney his VP choice instead of that imbecile from Alaska who quit on everything she has ever done. If Romney is the choice, yes the hard right goes crazy, but who the hell else are they going to vote for. So play the scenario as it happened with Mitt in there instead of quitter Alaska. The economy collapses, W does what he does, McCain stays vague on whether he supports bailouts and do on, he comes out in a press conference and states "If I am elected, my first, second and last priority will be our economic recovery, therefore I will be putting my VP, Mitt Romney, a highly successful, independent business man in charge of our economic recovery". Now, Obama is a nice guy, big picture thinker, but people like their comfort zone and do not want to take risks. In this scenario, voting Obama is a risk, healthcare is a back burner issue (and should have been anyway with the economic mess he inherited). People would have voted McCain. Instead it was "If McCain croaks in office, we get that idiot from Alaska? No Way!" That was too much of a risk for people to take. Heck I thought McCain gave up too soon in 2000, he should have pushed it further with W. I also don't blame the Supreme Court for Florida in 2000 (Its should never have come down to that, I do blame them for other messes we are in) I blame Al Gore and his minions who couldn't realize he was coming up short in New Hampshire!
"Sorry folks...we're past the point of no return...it's hopeless. This all ends with an armed rebellion."
What;s "sorry" is these republicans understanding of the constitution.
Really, GOP? This is your best and brightest?
This poll cracks me up. Of course Romney wins this poll – he hasn't had to govern or make a stand on anything for the past 2 years. Quickest way to start losing votes is to actually have to start governing.
Romney would beat President Obama
Yeah Right. Don't forget, it was a landslide. Its easy now to do these silly polls. Your polls thought Romney was going to win in 2012.
What we going to do about Congress. Taking off a whole month in August. That's who need to be impeach. Right wing Republican party.
We have to come out and vote like we did in 2012. that's the only way we can change this conversation.
Let's not forget, The President beat Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain. Why don't you poll that.
CNN you have officially jumped the shark. Poll after meaningless poll...and you ran out of things to poll on so now you're polling about an election that was over two years ago. How about covering some news.
Romney would have more luck running in the Cayman Islands. We need a Clinton in the White House again. Romney believes OUTSOURCING is the strategy for business because they are "people' after all, and the working middle class can take a hike. Clinton believes in balanced budgets, near zero real unemployment, and prosperity. I hope she wins.
Romney stood for nothing. Every audience, he tailored a completely different message. He is the King of Flip Floppers, nothing more.
Romney the GOP DOLT has better numbers because he only represents 53% of the country, remember the 47% comment, morons