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. TheSadTruth

    This poll is certainly skewed, but even if it weren't, it would only show the natural tendency of people today to second guess themselves and everyone else.

    Not a single person who today says they would NOW vote for Romney would be able to tell you what he's accomplished in the last couple of years.

    July 27, 2014 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  2. Sandy

    This article pretty much says Obama is done, he's toast, put a fork ih him. Bring on November! Buy bye to all the dem politicians that attached themselves to Obama. Love it!

    July 27, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  3. Clement Arbruster Bodog Castlenut, Jr.

    Well, if we had an election every time a new poll was released, this information may actually have some value. Since we don't, it's mere codswallop.

    July 27, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  4. peterz

    Psycho-analysis poll coming from hallucinated aftermath of doing nothing?

    July 27, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  5. Paul

    hindsight is 2020

    July 27, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  6. Hank

    Yes, well it's probably due to the fact that so many might finally think that the uber liberal ideology isn't all that great for America's national well being and balance. It's fine to be a liberal in your personal dealings at the local level, I sure am. But when it comes to having the spend and tax philosophy slammed through at the national level paired up with a reckless disregard for state sovereignty and prefence directed at glorifying expensive social programs over dynamic growth and private sector autonomy, I can see why Barak Hussein Obama's ideologies are slipping in popularity. He has made our nation miserable, joyless, stressed, numb and divided. Never has class warfared and the 1040 tax form been used as such evil weapons of national destruction as it has under his tenure. The noise, the chaos, the global unrest that has been unleashed under his tensure is beyond pathetic. The scandalous things this administration has done is deplorable to say the least. From the Fast and Furious scheme, to the IRS discrimination against conservative groups, to the gay slam propaganda done to other countries, to the murder in Benghazi, this administration is pure darkness and evil.

    July 27, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  7. Anonymous

    What difference does it make?

    July 27, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  8. Mary

    899 interviews among registered voters. Ha, yea that's the majority of Americans on Land Lines.
    Sorry guys, 899 people do not represent the majority of Americans

    July 27, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  9. Ray

    So you're saying that Obama wouldnt have gotten 138% in Ohio as well as other states?

    July 27, 2014 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  10. Cetz Moi

    Don't be ridiculous, you are fully aware we all want Rand Paul or Ron Paul or both Pauls. That we want Ms Warren, that we want John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. and you ask us to ignore that you have us in a cage? -

    July 27, 2014 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  11. Dave

    What a ridiculous poll since Romney hasn't served. Yet when compared to another hypothetical president Romney still comes in second. Your headline should have read, "Romney doesn't get support, but the President has lost some."

    July 27, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. Tamara

    That is the scariest thing I've heard...Clinton! People just don't learn...

    July 27, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  13. Mike in Texas

    A worthless useless poll.

    Fact: Our President is Barack Obama
    Fact: Mitt Romney is not
    Fact: President Obama cannot run again

    July 27, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  14. Robert

    He's coming back folks.
    Coming to take back our country.
    From wherever he thinks it's been.
    He'll show Putin who's boss.
    He'll prove that fracking is not causing all of the quakes in Oklahoma.
    He'll end social welfare as we know it.
    And wink at corporate welfare.
    He is the savior a minority of Americans have been waiting for.
    He is Romney!

    July 27, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  15. peterz

    You know when a graduate did not want to work, he made a poll to show his parent not in the top ten of the rich list. His condition to work was his parent had to make in the top ten first.

    July 27, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  16. Backtalker

    I hate to say it, but it was not just Obama's party that got him elected. It was also race. Paul Mooney, a black comedian, is a good example of how it plays into it. Race should not be a factor when selecting a leader. Obama has his good points, and has improved from when he was first elected. Now, a lot of things blamed for the destruction or downfall of this nation are being wrongfully blamed on him. Point the finger where it belongs, Capitol Hill. The Senate and House are laughable and ineffective partisan buffoons. Nothing is getting done because of the inability of these people to trim the fat and keep the lean. Personally, I do not think we need impeachment, we need to remove these lifers from the House and Senate.

    The culpability of immigration not only rest on Obama's head. Holder needs to hit the road as well. He is ineffective in regards to the VA murders, and yes they are murders, immigration enforcement, and a whole list of other things.

    July 27, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  17. foxbarking

    So many of your posts are sickening and without merit. Although I agree that President Obama has not been that good of a president, the people who voted for him are not any stupider than the population who but George W Bush in the White House two times before Obama.

    @Michel Thibault How exactly is the president a "monster." Your post has no evidence and is nothing but an ad hominem attack and therefore invalid. You solution is to hang all democrats but you call the president a monster? Your post makes it very clear that you are referring to yourself and not Obama.

    @Jeff please explain how the past few years have been a nightmare. It hasn't been spectacular, but it was a lot better than the 8 previous years. The only nightmare is you are angry your guy didn't win.

    @Paladin yet another person who is unable to do anything but hurl insults. Your argument is invalid and insulting.

    When all you guys can do is call people names, why should anyone put any merit in your opinion. Children call people names and children are not prepared to know what is best our country.

    July 27, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  18. darth cheney

    Of course the hypothetical president who didn't have to prove anything outpolls the actual president who was put to the fire. That's simply not a valid comparison, and it's even more obvious when you compare Romney to HRC – they're on the same hypothetical playing field, and Clinton comes out ahead. Can't CNN vet these articles with someone who knows some basics about research methodology?

    July 27, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  19. JD

    Over six years, & so many millions of dollars, & hours of radio & TV undermining Obama & the Office of the President to promote the "party interest" at the expense of the Country...How do you think your standing in the "polls" would be. The polls said Cantor would win remember.. Where do all those millions raised by the parties go??? To the media. The media needs to keep things stirred up to keep the cash flowing. Could be there is a better use of all those millions!!

    July 27, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  20. Mike in Texas

    It's much easier to pick the other guy when he isn't involved in what's going on in the country. Romney seems a better choice because these people are only looking at what is going on with the President. Had Romney won in 2012 I'm the sure the poll would have different results. It's like in football, sometimes the most popular guy on the team is the backup QB, until they put him in and then fans realize why he was the backup.

    July 27, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  21. Groaning

    To all the people who think this county has been "destroyed" look around yourself, what do you see? Ruins? Piles of dead? Starving children? Collapsed cities and bridges? Get a freaking grip. You are privileged beyond anyone in the history of the world and hate the president for it? Im glad you lost.

    July 27, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  22. ND

    To those who voted twice for Obama, I think maybe now you can see that a man who knows how to grow jobs & make money would have been a better choice.

    July 27, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  23. Citizenatlarge1

    As bad as President Bush was viewed, President Obama makes him look like a boy scout. Consider the chaos around the world today, and the litany of scandals that this administration is currently dealing with, I can't remember another period in the last 40 years of such chaotic incompetence. And to attribute it all to politics or racism is the is the rational of a simple mind.

    July 27, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  24. Dr. Mantis

    The majority of Americans would vote for a random hobo instead of President Oblamer...

    July 27, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  25. liberal disease

    too late to turn back now, we are stuck with him.

    July 27, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
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