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.
The only reason these numbers are skewed like this is because the Congress is forcing the country to live by their choices. It is funny that the same people they ridicule are the them themselves one in the same, sit around and do nothing and collect a pay check.
Can we please find out who the 44% who would still vote for Obama are, as well as the 55% that would vote for Hillary Clinton , and revoke their citizenship and deport them?!!
If after all of Obama's lies and failures you would still vote for him, you are too stupid to be in the country! LEAVE!!
And if you would vote for another "first" that has already shown she can't handle the job with her failures ate the State Dept. you are equally as stupid. PLEASE LEAVE!!
Too funny – Romney lost for good reasons, not all of them self-created. The only difference if Romney had been elected is that we wouldn't have to hear the right whining about how they don't get to make all the decisions.
Wait until AFTER the 2014 elections; there's a person who is waiting to see what the NEW Congress will look like in terms of the majority in the houses. That person is; Michelle Obama – there is a VERY REAL chance she will announce in order to not give the nod to Hillary. Just wait and see!
Barack didn't have the "experience" it takes to be President, she has even less but she is more popular than her husband and, certainly, more popular than Hillary, so she can be the Democratic nominee in 2016.
I am willing to bet 80% of voters for her would be doing it because she would be the "1st. woman" preisdent (hell of a good reason). Look at what happened when voters voted for the "1st. black" president. Someone unknown in the business and political world but he sure could organize in the community. I for one believe Mitt is the man to run this country. A successfull business man who knows what it takes to lead. When the Chicago thuggery ZERO stuff in his closet they resorted to make things up with zero credibility and none of it was ever proven. If they couldn't find it with their dirty tricks it doesn't exist. Here is a man with proven bussiness smarts and a man who knows how to lead and is a family man.
It is not hard to top odumba, all you need is part of abrain and know how to lie everytime you open your mouth
A sock puppet could beat Obama today.
Well, a sock puppet does have more leadership ability so please give the sock puppet their due.
Even the most extreme Liberals have to admit that Obama has been a resounding failure and a disaster for America.
I would beg to disagree. This is why Obama still shows support in the low 40s. Liberals, as they will always tell you are of superior intellect as as such could never be wrong or admit they are wrong. They will however blame others, finger point and make every excuse in the book to cover up their mistakes and failures. Obama is the perfect case in point. But he also has the fact that he is the first black President going for him because you'd would just be a racist if you said he has been a total failure.
This is the stupidest article ever, if Romney had Won, and you did this same poll, it would show Obama as the loser(like romney) topping the contest. A president has to do things some people wont like, and a candidate can say what everyone wants to hear.
We elected one loser just because of race, let us not make the same mistake and elect another loser on the basis of s ex.
All of this begs the REAL question... what Democrat will the leftist news media sell to the American people in 2016 after this Obama sales job has been a total flop? We already know they will viciously attack and repeat the Democrat rhetoric about whoever the Republican candidate is. That is always a given.
I hate to tell you Republicans this but you lost in 2012, and nothing is going to change that. We will see what happens in 2016.
Is there nothing more important going on in the world that we have to make news articles about imaginary elections...
As long as the radical group the NRA is running the GOP, I will ALWAYS vote Democratic. So count me in the 44% that would still vote for Obama over Romney and the 55% that will vote for Hillary over any GOP candidate.
One of the main reasons that Romney lost is because his wife wanted him to. She couldn't stand the thought of moving into a smaller house... although she really liked the name.
Obama has been a terrible disappointment, but more disappointing still is that so many Americans would vote against their best interests. Unless you are very rich, a feudal lord who writes off half the people and stands for nothing is a terrible choice.
Is Mittens still wearing magic underwear? Well then we picked the right guy!
Well isn't all this too bad for the country. Sorry we don't get do-overs and we are stuck with this "checked out" bum for the next 2 years. Hell, even Hillary looks like a breath of fresh air compared to the stale "So, sue me" attitude Obama has displayed since winning re-election. WAAAYYYYY worst president than Jimmy Carter, name one other president with such a flippant, who gives a crap attitude that Obama has now.
Every time I see Obama referred to as "loser,""liar,""etc. I can't help but chuckle. I am going to define a new phrase – mass temper tantrum. It's like watching a group of two year olds throw a tantrum because they didn't get their way. It's slightly funny, but impossible to take seriously.
Please, why do a stupid poll like this anyway? Every president's poll numbers go down in the second term. Everyone knows it. Bush would have killed for a 44% approval rating in his second term. One year after Obama leaves office his numbers will be in the mid 50's. Please report on something significant already.
If they had included free cell phones in the telephone poll, the numbers would be much more in Dear Leader's favor.
Wasn't Romney ahead in many of the polls back in 2012? Just ask Karl Rove. But Obama won the only poll that matters. This is a pretty ridiculous story.
The country is in trouble. People do not care about real facts, they will listen to lie after lie. Who cares about the what if's? People do not follow what is going on and do their own investigating. They either listen or watch crummy news....cnn,msnbc,fox news......If the average voter would do a little more fact checking and not be pulled in with lies, then we wouldn't be in such bad shape as a country. However, we have people that just want a hand out and will vote for someone that will just give them free stuff......I like what I heard on Rush a while ago......He compared OBAMA to SANTA CLAUSE......He is right!!!!!!!! 2012 voters voted for SANTA CLAUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How stupid is that? You make your own decision on that, I say stupid RULES these days.....
You guys lost and say what you want, ain't nothing gonna change! If Romnuts whould have won, we'd be in two more wars, the stock market would have crashed and we all be in a hell of a mess!
What planet are you all from? Seriously!
At the end of President Bush's term the stock market was at 7000, now it is at 17,000. We were shedding 300,000 jobs a month. Now we are creating 100,000 jobs a month. Several corporations were about to collapse, now they are making money hand over fist. Banks were failing on a monthly basis, now they are failing at a MUCH slower rate. All of this is documented and there exists factual evidence, so AGAIN, I ask, what planet are you all from? Maybe you should spend less time listening to idiots like Rush Limberger and Bill O'Rilemeup and Glenn Bleck. You really should use factual information instead of made-up talking points. The REALLY sad thing about you tools is that you don't realize that while the Republican Right, with one hand, is feeding you talking points, with the other hand they are picking your pockets. Then with that same hand, they are handing off your income to the Corporations and wealthy. THAT, is the really sad thing. AND, you people can't even see it. Wow!
Is this another Dick Morris poll?