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. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    CNN aka Fox-lite has been going overboard to discredit the POTUS' 2nd term. They have been laser focused on Mittens since he lost. It's over CNN, Mitt lost, President Obama can't run again, and I'm sick of your useless polls. What do you expect when the MSM parrots anti-Obama rhetoric 24/7? Any crazy thing anyone says about this POTUS you take it as gospel and run with it. I remember a time when disrespecting the POTUS was considered very un-American, but that sentiment got flushed down the toilet in November 2008.

    Anyone heard anything about the Dixie Chicks???

    July 28, 2014 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  2. MaryM

    As Steve Schmidt (played by Woody Harrelson) said in the movie Game Change. "You don't get to go back in time, "
    Sorry repubs, you lost and you continue to lose and be losers.

    July 28, 2014 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  3. Hero to.

    this poll is absolutely nothing but nonsense.

    July 28, 2014 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  4. Jerry

    What a bizarre poll result.
    1) Romney doesn't care about the bottom "47%" , and yet 53% of the population wants to vote for him now? That means a portion of people who Romney specifically said he doesn't care about prefer Romney. Wow.

    2) Romney over Obama, but Clinton over Romney? That makes no sense. Clinton and Obama are nearly identical on most issues.

    July 28, 2014 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  5. DJ Reality

    Yeah, yeah, yeah and if I could go back in time i wouldn't have married my second wife. So what? Give me a break!!! I think things would worse. In the history of this country republicans haven't done a much better job either. Sorry republicans but, you haven't.

    July 28, 2014 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  6. National Socialist Progressive Communist Democrat Party

    MaryM
    As Steve Schmidt (played by Woody Harrelson) said in the movie Game Change. "You don't get to go back in time, "
    Sorry repubs, you lost and you continue to lose and be losers.
    --

    Wrong. The country is the loser, as is the world as the weakling pulls evil America back.

    July 28, 2014 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  7. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    fhc1983reunion says:
    July 28, 2014 03:06 am at 3:06 am
    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!

    How do you feel about the whites that voted for Romney simply because he's white? But that's ok right? I didn't vote for President Obama because he's black. In case you and others didn't notice we blacks have been voting for white candidates for years. I adored Bill Clinton which is one reason I was in Hillary's corner until then Senator Obama came on the scene and I loved him from the very beginning. I can't say that about the few other blacks that wanted to be POTUS, like Jesse Jackson. But I was torn between then Senator Obama and Hillary until I heard something Hillary said about Obama that solidified my support for him. As for voting for Hillary because she's a woman, that's BS too. I kind of like Hillary, she's much more intelligent than the entire GOP clown car together, so she will get my vote this time.

    And yes I'm an employed black woman. So please stop stereotyping us. If you want to know who is getting the majority of handouts look no further than the trailer parks in the red states. And I know many more just like myself that don't get a thing from the government that vote Democrat.

    July 28, 2014 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  8. Bob knows

    Wake up people-nobody needs to discredit Obama,his incompetency and lack of leadership is on display on a daily basis.

    July 28, 2014 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  9. dman6015

    "Living the past is a dull and lonely business; looking back strains the neck muscles, causing you to bump into people not going your way." ~ Edna Ferber

    July 28, 2014 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  10. yoshimoto

    what's scary is that here was Romney – a fantastic candidate – family man, success as a Gov, Olympic chairman and businessman – and America was too dumb to realize this and the media is too liberal to be objective...not electing Romney has bigger implications for America – it shows we truly don't know how to pick leaders any more – we picked an amateur community organizer and look the messes he created – now we are going to pick a prom queen just so we can say we elected a woman? America has truly, truly lost its mind....pick a woman who is a leader, not someone who has never done anything on her own....

    July 28, 2014 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  11. al

    ROMNEY was right!!!!!! Obama the goof ball is a jerk!

    July 28, 2014 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  12. Rosa

    I doubt it. People have short memories. You think Obama us bad? Romney would be much worse. I doubt Dems in congress would be anymore cooperative to Romney than GOP congress is to Obama. Therefore nothing would be different.

    July 28, 2014 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  13. Carole

    I enjoyed watching CNN and thought you were fair but you are just as bad as Fox. You are always discrediting President Obama. All our country would need need now is Romney. Thank God he lost the election.

    July 28, 2014 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  14. National Socialist Progressive Communist Democrat Party

    State
    This just add's validity to Bill Maher's statement that most Americans are stupid.
    --

    Obama being elected twice had already proven that point.

    July 28, 2014 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  15. mdaneker

    Pointless poll of knee-jerk uninformed people during a time when there's no campaigning. pointless crap.

    July 28, 2014 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  16. National Socialist Progressive Communist Democrat Party

    Anonymous
    Bilbo
    Sorry folks...we're past the point of no return...it's hopeless. This all ends with an armed rebellion.
    -–
    Please do. I will enjoy watching all you home grown terrorists take on the US. Military which is the strongest military in the history of Earth with your pee shooters.
    -–

    What kind of imbecile are you? WE are the military! It is a volunteer force of American citizens not a gang of some hired hit men. The American military is NOT allowed to be used for law enforcement. If it were to be used against the American people you can be sure there would be real problems. I would expect many in the military to know better than to kill their family and friends. The left is just so clueless.

    July 28, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  17. Anonymous

    can must have survey all republicans with the nonsense of a poll.

    July 28, 2014 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  18. InstantBackGroundSniper

    Americans are simply fatigued by Obama and his administration. You can blame the GOP (the Party of "No") all you want, but the average Joe is waking up to the fact that Obama is not what he promised he would be.
    1) Economy #1: Unemployment of 18-35 year olds at an all time high.
    2) Economy #2: Prices on goods and services are rising, while wages are decreasing.
    3) ACA – from the rollout to the latest gutting of the exchanges, while everyone's taxes increased.
    4) Foreign affairs: Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Ukraine, Afghanistan.
    5) IRS – Just the thought that any political group(s) were targeted should cause everyone to be upset.

    I know that I have missed a couple more, but you have to ask yourself, what else could possibly go wrong, while he pretends to remain "cool" under all of these issues?

    July 28, 2014 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  19. stewart

    and if he had we would still be fighting wars in far off places we have no business being. but not to worry his 1% pals and corp that are people would be be ripping off the tax payers even worse than they are now

    July 28, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  20. mb

    IF Romney had won we would be at war in Syria,Iraq, Iran and perhaps Russia-all domestic spending at an end while war gets all the money-more people without jobs and no health insurance etc-WHAT do you think Romney's poll numbers would be then-5% or lower

    July 28, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  21. Rosslaw

    Gosh, well that certainly tells us a lot about 2012. Next on CNN, Robin beats the living daylights out of Batman.

    July 28, 2014 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  22. C C

    No do overs. The American voters have to live with the fool they elected. You can make any excuses, your narrow minds can come up with, to excuse his lack of ability in leadership, but the reality is that he does not do the job he was elected to perform. "Fooled once, shame on you. Fooled twice, shame on me."

    July 28, 2014 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  23. Humbrrto

    Not only is this article about Mittens propaganda , but illegal interference with the United States voting process.

    July 28, 2014 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  24. NameCarl Fisher

    Sorry no do overs.

    July 28, 2014 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  25. Lynda/Minnesota

    "It's over CNN, Mitt lost, President Obama can't run again, and I'm sick of your useless polls."

    Considering how much time and effort Mitch McConnell spent trying to make President Obama a two-term President, I suspect this is just one more useless talking point memo he's distributed for the media to kick around the block.

    July 28, 2014 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
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