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.
"Romney tops Obama." Ew. Thanks for the visual.
what experience does Clinton have in managing the economy successfully? what is her experience in solving problems?
I also heard that in the year 2000, an actual election showed more Americans wanted Al Gore as President.
That sure made a difference.
@Marie, your posts continue to be so balanced and constructive, not to mention mature and pleasant. Thanks very much.......
The American electorate was stupid enough to elect Obama, twice, and appears to have not learned any lessons. Like Obama, Hilly has no soul.
This shows that more people are unhappy with the guy in charge than it does about Romney. Frankly if people stopped believing the talking heads on TV and got informed on their own, they would find out that while the recover certainly could be better, our president has done a commendable job since taking office.
The talking heads would have you think its been a disaster of epic scale and that is simply not true when you look at the facts objectively, considering the current climate of the world and world economy and what he was given when he took office and the complete lack of support on any issue from the republicans.
Well yeah, and it the media hadn't been lapdogs to Obama he would have. If Obama had looked like Dick Cheney he wold still be teaching classes in Illinois.
Who cares about this poll? Get over it, President Obama won. The ordinary American citizen (voter) is not stupid. They realized what they would have faced if Romney had won. And do people think the voters will not remember in 2016 too?
This is pointless!
The dreamers still trying to get Romney in the WH. The world heard his comments on the makers and takers – and that never goes away. There a lot of retirees out there who still don't like that comparison. Americans have had enough of another example of a racist, evangelical, misogynist president. Go eat another twinkie, and figure out how to install a car elevator at your home...
I voted for Romney and I genuinely believe the nation would be better with him as a leader, but he lost ... over a year and a half ago. Move on. Work with the president instead of bemoaning the election results.
The advantage Mitt Romney has is that everyone knows who he is right. This is about name recognition. If he were to run for President again, he would win. After this nightmare the country will be ready for real hope and change.
but you are obviously
You would expect this kind of poll from TMZ then from a news organization.
Except the fact that you made two huge mistakes when voting for this guy twice! YOU destroyed this country. Not evil rich Republicans buddy.
In other news, Gore beats Bush by 85 points, but Scotus still appoints B ush.
Hang all Demoncats. They destroyed this country by putting this monster in charge for eight years.
Hindsight is 20/20 and somehow saying "We told you so" rings hollow. We got what we paid for and now we are seeing the consequences. We need to move beyond "My family have always been lifelong (Dems/Repub)" and start thinking instead of being led around like sheep.
You have to be kidding us, right? We would have been in so many conflicts in other nations via Romney and his war mongers. It is bad enough all the conflict now. It is because of the redumblicans and their DO NOTHING stance on everything!!!!!!! It is shameful to think with your stupid polls that Romney would be elected today....
Let's see-Obama was playing pool in Colorado recently–big deal-G W was reading books in a classroom when 911 happened!!!!!!!!!! I sometimes think the news media is mostly to blame for all the turmoil in this country!!!!
If we would do the world war 2 all over, we would have bomb the train tracks to teh death camps as of they one.
If we would do this and that than..... If Romney and Obama would have been aborted before they wer eborn etc etc.
Seriously????? You call this a news article??
He is still a Bishop of a CULT.
Romney tops Obama, Clinton tops Romney, Romney tops Christie and Perry..
This like some weird "rock, paper, scissors" game .
GOP dream revisionism.
So Romney takes FL, VA, OH??? Obama didn't even need those to win.
Low IQ voters having voter remorse.... A test should be conducted prior to elections to determine if you have enough brain power to vote..
And Gore won the popular vote in 2000.