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. J G

    Romney loses to Clinton? Good lord this country has lost its mind. Has anybody been paying attention to what has been happening around the world? Most of this started when Clinton was Sec State. There's a reason she was asked to step down – she knew what a failure she had been and didn't want to be around for the repurcussions and negative attention it would draw to her. Terrifies me that Americans would vote for her. Or that anybody ever supported a loony like Palin for VP.

    July 28, 2014 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  2. Mel Stricker

    It is nice to be popular becuase you don't have to make any decisions about anything. This way you are never wrong, BTW, that is probably what Romney would have done if he had become president.
    1. Cut taxes for the rich – that makes them happy
    2. Cut social programs – that makes the rich happy (the rest of us don't count)
    3. Do nothing else – makes Romney happy

    Just remember everyone, the last Republican president, killed the US economy and got the US into 2 wars. You may not like President Obama but things ARE better now then when President Obama took office.

    July 28, 2014 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  3. What the What

    This article convinces me to never vote for Obama for President of the United States again.

    July 28, 2014 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  4. fhc1983reunion

    This is very sad, because it is demonstrating the ignorance of Americans. Women voting for Clinton simply because she is a woman, equates to blacks voting for Obama because he is black. It is sheer ignorance. We continue to have this movement in politics and it has ruined America. The poor vote democratic because they equate being on food stamps and welfare as the democrats helping them. Really? I would want to vote for people who would want to be me and get me off the dependence of entitlement programs, not keep me on them. Hillary is a liar just like Obama. I am a woman and insulted that women would be this stupid!

    July 28, 2014 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  5. nurredin

    This poll is bogus .1,012 people don't represent how all of America feels.Obama is nowhere near the worst president ever.Has he put missiles in Turkey aimed at the Russians so they retaliate with missiles in Cuba? Did he ignore an extradition warrant for murder for a King who murdered 3% of his population? Did he invent Saudi Arabia in 1932 when the people wanted a democracy? Did he get 57,000 GI's killed because he didn't want Ho Chi Minh to win an election in Vietnam? Did he overthrow a democratically elected government in Iran in 1953 and replace it with a King? Did he get 243 Marines killed trying to keep an UNELECTED minority government in power in Lebanon? Did he ignore Valerie Plame when she told him Tony Blair's intel on WMD was bogus and get 4800 GI's killed? Did he ignore a warning from the Phoenix FBI in April of 2001 that Middle Eastern men were taking flying lessons but didn't care about takeoffs or landing that resulted in 3000 innocent deaths? Did he give the Taliban $43 MILLION dollars in May of 2001 FOUR MONTHS before they attacked us on 9/11.Tell me what he's done that comes anywhere close to the past Presidential stupidity of the last 80 years.

    July 28, 2014 03:16 am at 3:16 am |
  6. Brian in TX

    I always hate these types of polls because Americans are so fickle and hindsight is always 20/20. So, they don't mean much.

    July 28, 2014 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  7. johnk

    A majority of the voting public are brain dead. Are swayed by the news media and told how to vote and what stories the media spins for them to believe in and swallow. Stupidity runs the show.

    July 28, 2014 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  8. Here It is

    I didn't read the article. Just read the title. Of course Romney tops Obama. He hasn't been the leader of the free world and hasn't been the target of every angry teatard for the past two years like Obama. But this is little comfort to Romney fans. Hillary would do him in in 2016 if he wanted to run.

    July 28, 2014 03:46 am at 3:46 am |
  9. garwin1

    At least he isn't trimmificationizating the brush at the Raynch.

    July 28, 2014 04:38 am at 4:38 am |
  10. mocasea

    Meh. Romney isn't running, President Obama cannot run, and what we are left with is a political void in both parties because the last eight years has set up a standard that any person who considers actually running for the office for not only a colossal attack from all fronts, but also for complete and utter destruction at the hands of those who should be supporting them. Every politician who is even considering the presidency is keeping their mouth shut and waiting to see which way the mid-term elections will swing. If it swings towards the GOP, then we will see a lot of hopefuls throwing their hat in the ring. If it swings towards the Tea Party we will see a few hopefuls throwing their hats in the ring and an even more collaboration between the more traditional GOP and Democrats to tear them down. If thing swing towards the Democrats then we won't hear a whole lot from the GOP or Tea Party until one or two of their candidates get a goof following before throwing their hat in the ring.

    The best outcome we could hope for is a flat line, no gains for any party, no changes in the power structure, at which point all sides will quiet down, consolidate their support, and only a few people all around will be willing to throw their hat in the ring. Come 2016 I hope to see a lot of the Tea Party seats taken by more traditional GOP members, a more balanced senate, and a lot more involvement in actual governing from Congress.

    July 28, 2014 04:54 am at 4:54 am |
  11. Anonymous

    woulda, coulda, shoulda

    July 28, 2014 04:58 am at 4:58 am |
  12. Lsteel

    If Romney had won, everyone would be mad at him, and Obama would be ahead in whatever poll was being taken. Everybody looks better in the abstract.

    If Romney had won, we wouldn't be able to watch Downton Abbey (no PBS) and we would probably be skirmishing in Iran and Ukraine, in addition to continued action in Afghanistan and Iraq. And Romney would have told off Putin. Are we having fun yet?

    July 28, 2014 05:18 am at 5:18 am |
  13. GimmeaBreak

    "...The poll was conducted .. with ...Americans questioned by telephone..."

    And that tells you everything about the validity of the poll.

    "...The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points."

    Wrong. The sampling error applies to the sampled population, not the population of the country. That IS what is wrong with telephone polls – they're LITERALLY polling a horrendous sample of the population as a whole – only those who answer phone calls from unknown callers."

    July 28, 2014 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  14. Marie MD

    No way, Jose and all the people in the world.
    Just remember folks, McCain picked the AK screecher over this guy in 2008. When you lose a contest to her it says all that can be said about your reputation, tax cheating and life in general.

    July 28, 2014 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  15. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Really can't wait to see Thad Cochran,Kevin McCarthy,Thom Tillis,Sheldon Adelson,Rupert Mourdoch,Karl Rove,Lindsey Graham,John McCain,Susan Collins,Hayley Barbour,Grover Norquist and the GOP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea potty's throats EXACTLY like they stuffed Romney down. Straight no chaser. Hillary will drink to that!.

    July 28, 2014 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  16. 1stlttightwad

    I can bet you one darn thing...The votes this time will be scrutinized to the nth degree...On Hillary..Her baggage will sink her before the first Iowa caucus..

    July 28, 2014 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  17. Marie MD

    . . . . . and , furthermore, those of you without a job or who know of somebody without a job, just look at anything you buy anymore that is NOT MADE IN THE USA.
    Just remember that the twit, right in the midst of campaigning for president of US, was sending a factory, including all equipment minus the US workers, of course, TO CHINA!
    When you want to call Obama whatever it is you want to call him without any backing, remember that right now we could be learning Chinese because we have to and your jobs might have been outsource to the twit's favorite country and one of his "factories" (look more like a concentration camp with barb wire at the top to keep workers in not out).

    July 28, 2014 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  18. Mistro

    My pet gerbel would top this empty suit president now – he couldn't lead a group of boy scouts out of the woods

    July 28, 2014 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  19. Slapsie Maxie

    Go back to counting your money Mittens

    July 28, 2014 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  20. elohist2009

    How ignorant for people to say, "Aww, I knew we should have voted for Romney!" having no clue whatsoever what kind of president he would have been. No matter how well you see the past, you can never know the future.

    July 28, 2014 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  21. Barry the king

    How about ANYBODY would top obama right now?

    July 28, 2014 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  22. Dennis

    Quick.hit the reset button.
    I must be dreaming.

    July 28, 2014 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  23. humtake

    The most hilarious part is it wouldn't have mattered if Romney had won the popular vote. The EC made sure Obama won. This during the same time Dems are throwing temper tantrums that the GOP is reengineering voting districts to supposedly make sure they get more votes. Just another ridiculous accusation by the Dems that has no factual backing.

    Democrats...just as good at ignoring reality as the GOP is at making up it up.

    July 28, 2014 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  24. MM

    I more shocked that 47% still believe in the current White House failure.

    July 28, 2014 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  25. Nick

    The Romney-Clinton poll just proves what many suspect: national elections are a popularity contest, not a contest of issues and solutions. Still waiting for anyone to provide a documented accomplishment of Hillary – flying around the globe isn't one.

    July 28, 2014 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
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