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. Brian Smith

    Wow! Now if only we could vote for President every day – in fact for our congressmen too – that would be totally awesome!

    July 27, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  2. bp

    In another meaningless poll, it was determined that if the vote were held again today, Al Gore would defeat George W. Bush by a larger popular vote total than he did in 2000.

    July 27, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  3. Tampa Tim

    Michel -War criminals have been hanged in the past, but not the idiot from Texas and his sidekick. You apparently are brain dead, so I will help you, the market has more than doubled under Obama, 296 million Americans now have health care, we are out of two unnecessary wars, auto and housing market doing well, record number of jobs created, and more. But hey, the republicans did shut down the government at a cost of $24 billion.

    July 27, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  4. Allen Gingrich

    What a pointless poll. The dynamics of actual elections would turn this on it's head.

    July 27, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  5. Leslie

    But the poll Clinton v. Romney shows that we have learned nothing. I have no bad feelings about Clinton, especially compared to Obama beginning in 2008, but she is not particularly qualified either. No experience running a country, an economy, and if she was "bankrupt" leaving the WH with her husband, she obviously cannot manage her personal finances either. Romney has been proven right on every debate point he had with Obama, and now the regrets start. That's right, learn from our mistakes. Go vote in Clinton instead of a real executive. Remember...she is NOT Bill Clinton.

    July 27, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  6. wtobias

    her book was to be a test for her 2016 run, i did not make this up. this is what the liberal media said. well the book was no1 on the best seller. for 2 weeks which a few outlets said they saw dismal sales . bill probably bought half of the books to make it look good...... by the 3rd week sales plummeted. the publisher said that it would not make any money on the book they paid hilly 15 million to wright it ..... so its been a dismal failure and its a test for her 2016 presidential run.... the book making her look like an ass has surpassed her book 10-1 .....

    July 27, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  7. Eardley Ham Woodbury, MN

    Hillary will be the next POTUS–and the country will continue its slide into mediocrity.

    July 27, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  8. Peter

    Anonymous wrote: "what is her (Clinton's) experience in solving problems?"

    I do believe that she was Secretary of State!

    July 27, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  9. ScottyDW

    And most in America would vote for Dewy today over Truman....but then again...99% of Americans don't know who Dewey is and wonder why the author of Breakfast at Tiffany's wanted to be president.

    July 27, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  10. Peter

    I will submit to you that if Romney were elected President in 2012, almost nothing would be different today.

    July 27, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  11. wtobias

    she has too much dirt under the rug...... its to a point that you don't have to use the stares to get to the second floor

    July 27, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  12. Rodney

    Perhaps the American electorate will choose someone with governing experience next time, so we can reverse the disaster that the Obama presidency has been. He is a poor leader and a failure by almost every measure.

    July 27, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  13. Leslie

    Robert: I make well under $100K and I would choose Romney now, just like I chose him in 2012.

    Foxbarker: Maybe we (US) are privileged, especially given the examples you give. But the condition of the world is in a terrible state because Obama has chosen to "lead from behind" which has left a huge vacuum. I know that Dems think all Reps are war mongers but you only have to look at Truman, Kennedy and Johnson, Dem heroes, to dispel that myth. No one likes war, but some of our politicians (and they are in the minority now) recognize if the US doesn't stand in front, someone else will fill the void. Look at the mess worldwide and you might revisit your negative comments.

    July 27, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. lividemerald2013

    Do we really want a "duck and run" / "what difference does it make?" kind of president who only checks in at home when Energizer isn't around?

    July 27, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  15. Peter

    "President Oblamer"

    I keep hearing this term pinned on Obama by Republicans who, at their last convention in 2012, took no responsibility for anything and blamed Obama for every single problem under the sun.

    July 27, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  16. rdeleys

    I may be disappointed in Obama, but I'd rather cut my finger off with a dull, rusty knife than use it to push the button for a Republican.

    July 27, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  17. And Furthermore...

    And the same poll at another point in time showed that a vast majority of Americans would have selected Gore, had THEY been given a do-over. Virtually every President in history would lose in a do-over. No news here.

    July 27, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  18. Name

    Ok, so Romney would beat a guy that can't run again, but lose to someone that will likely run. Long story short, Romney will never be president

    July 27, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  19. notnecessary

    This is a manipulative article. Only 1,012 people polled and some internationally? Who where these people? Sure didn't include me, not that I care. This is bad subjective journalism basing a US NATIONAL election on an INTERNATIONAL Poll of only 1,012 unknown persons.

    July 27, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  20. stubbycatt

    Romney couldn't top an ant hill. A poll isn't an election, folks.So once again I with gusto sing: Good-bye Romney, Don't you cry, Romney, 47 per cent sent you right back where you belong..." Amen.

    July 27, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  21. terry b

    Clinton is so superior to the crop of nutcases that the GOP seems to love putting forward. Christie is the least repulsive of the loons that are currently looking for the job in 2016. Since he is likeable the GOP will never allow him to succeed. Romney's biggest problem, for me, was that every time a commercial came on I couldn't help but stand up, click my heels, raise my right hand and say "Sieg Heil". His speeches just reminded me of Hitler's when he ran for chancellor. With him and his party, they couldn't care less about Jews, minorities and gays. Replace Jews with women and you have the current republican party.

    July 27, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  22. Tim

    Hey folks it all about "Our" congress. The Republican controlled House seems to bear much of the gridlock in Washington. From day one when Obama was first elected they declared they would do everything in their power to make him a one term president. They have failed but have held our country hostage in doing so. Dragging their heels at every piece of legislation. Congress is the problem realize that......

    July 27, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  23. kws11

    I wish this was in the other format, where we can reply to each other! I would be very disappointed to see Romney run again. His response to the 47% tape was wimpy and lame, and no apologist is going to get anywhere on the conservative side of a national election. Hilary hasn't been fully evaluated again by voters, and has a lot of negative baggage that will come out in ad headlines throughout the election cycle. Plus, the way Dems dropped her as soon as the 100% artificial sweetener was declared "BRILLIANT" by know-it-all Oprah, well, I think the public may see her as a "lesser of evils" and will again RUN from her as soon as they can justify it.

    HOWEVER, I would love the gossip pages if Bill Clinton were the the official capacity of "entertainer of spouses of visiting heads of state". You know the "First Spouse" does that, right? Bill would LOVE it!

    July 27, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  24. Westfield

    Nothing new here. People always do this. They put their hopes into someone and then ultimately are disappointed and hope for someone new.

    July 27, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  25. Devodude

    What a dumb poll... Obama has had to deal with real world situations. Romney has done nothing. Of course the person who is frozen in time looks better than the one who has had to make the tough decisions. One thing hasn't changed and that is Romney's disdain for the average American.

    July 27, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
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