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. hatenapa

    Assuming Romney doesn't speak. Once he starts speaking, all bets are off.

    July 28, 2014 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  2. Arnold Yooper

    What a stupid question!!!!!

    July 28, 2014 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  3. greenaxe

    This article is a total waste of time

    July 28, 2014 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  4. Gurgyl

    Another Rethuglican for president? May be for cook job in capital or state guest-house. Not in WH. Mittens is silly, crazy. Tell him to bring money from Cayman, Bermuda.

    July 28, 2014 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  5. Stephen

    It was polls like these that suckered Romney into running in the first place. It was the one public remark about writing off half of Americans because they were on welfare that sealed his fate. You guys with all the $$$ still don't get it: you can take almost everything from a man but his pride, and in this great country he is able to express that with his vote.

    July 28, 2014 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  6. Laughing2Hard

    When Obama did good it he was the best president ever! When he did bad it was Bushs fault. I even saw a guy post this (They dont even call him President Obama he's been dealing trying to fix what bush messed up in his two terms)..so bush messed up his 2nd term? not even sure if that's a joke or a sick reality in someones mind! This is the liberal mindset that is a sickness!! The plain and simple fact is, we told you pre election 1st time Obama was NO GOOD and all of this would probably happen. We were labeled racists.We told you he couldn't bring 2 people together to save his life, and we were labeled terrorist by the left...now after 6.5 years of embarrassment and more scandels than I can count, .the left STILL cant blame anyone else but the right..........its a joke of a government and its embarrassing!!!!

    July 28, 2014 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  7. Laughing2Hard

    Obama does good = YAY best prez ever!!
    Obama does bad = Blame bush.

    July 28, 2014 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  8. Mcbob79

    Show the details of the poll. They won't show that more democrats were polled than repugs.

    July 28, 2014 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  9. David H. Thoreau

    The polling company, ORC, which constructed this poll is owned by a Tea Party Contributor to the right of Mitt Romney. It is not fitting and proper that such a poll should be entrusted to someone with so obvious a political bias.

    July 28, 2014 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  10. Dean

    The idiots who voted for Obama deserve what they get.

    July 28, 2014 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  11. jimmy

    so lets do it over ... bogus poll

    July 28, 2014 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  12. NameSteve

    Is this news ?Romney lost almost 2 yrs ago. Give Obama a break!!!!

    July 28, 2014 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  13. mickey

    George bush 2 would beat Obama and that is really bad for obama

    July 28, 2014 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  14. john

    What a stupid poll. You could do the same poll with most other sitting presidents and their opponents. You would end up witih the same result. The sitting president would lose.

    July 28, 2014 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  15. belle

    Same exact bad poll that CNN made 2 stories with last week. Here's what's wrong with it:

    -Extremely small sample
    -75% of respondents were interviewed on LAND LINES (read: old people who do phone interviews in the middle of the summer – you do the math on which demographics THAT would be.)
    -The time the poll was taken is the most absolute worst time of the year to get any relevant reading – the middle of the summer. Summer polls are notoriously known for being skewed. The same poll taken 2-3 months later can be vastly different, even with the same sampling.

    July 28, 2014 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  16. We are watching

    53% to 44% is similar to the polls taken that convinced Romney he was winning previously. Then despite the polls he lost Florida and Ohio and many couldn't see where is confidence in those states originated. Mitt should run again and I personally will work twice as hard to guarantee that his money and influence can't purchase the White House.

    July 28, 2014 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  17. Jan Nappylotto

    They need to poll the millions of illegal immigrants that are in the country and the thousands illegally entering the country on a regular basis to better skew the numbers. They will say, "Obama will take care of us. Where do I get my permissio?"

    July 28, 2014 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  18. Gary

    As always the quarterback on the bench is better than the one in the game...until he gets in. There's a reason Romney wasn't elected.

    July 28, 2014 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  19. Norma Vessels

    Anyone who would vote for Mitt Romney have forgotten about all the lies he told. Yes, lies. He told one group what they wanted to hear, then he'd go straight to another group and tell them exactly the opposite, because he knew that's what they wanted to hear. He did that over and over again ... he lied over and over again. One lie, I can understand, two lies, I'm beginning to doubt that person, three lies and I'm pretty much out of it, four lies and I'm done. Mitt Romney went beyond four lies and still going, probably.

    July 28, 2014 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  20. Ali

    Poor Romney. CNN just keep breaking his heart. They say he would beat Obama (he lost), then they said he would lose again, but this time to Clinton. What a sad story.

    July 28, 2014 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  21. Luc

    who cares stop looking back and lets go forward. Romney numbers would be probably lower than Obama because he would of been for the rich and the heck with the middle class. Do you really think Romney would push for equal pay, given ACA for Americans, pushed for minimum wage, brought our troops back from no good wars, pushed for voters rights in RED states, this is the worst poll ever done. It is all hypothetical but that is how CNN runs stupid stupid stupid . I guess the rich don't mind Obama because the stock market is higher than ever in the history of the USA. Slow and steady is what brought America out of the recession all jobs lost from 2008 all regained and markets are good. This with no help from congress except 284,000 billion tax break for the rich. So much for your second term POTUS. Got to laugh.

    July 28, 2014 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  22. Indyswimmer66

    Must be a very slow news day to run a story like that. Kind of like... who would win... Superman or Batman?

    July 28, 2014 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  23. bclee

    The big o looks like a blind man trying to play chess.

    July 28, 2014 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  24. McBob79

    So would an ant

    July 28, 2014 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  25. Sensei

    However.......Mitt loses to Hillary. Hahahaha

    July 28, 2014 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
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