CNN Poll: Romney tops Obama but loses to Clinton
July 27th, 2014
08:29 AM ET
5 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. Ralph

    You would think that the 2012 election taught us to know better then trusting these one off polls by the "news" organizations and how completely wrong they were. Not that I care about who wins or loses in a redundant poll.

    For the sake of argument, how about a poll on something that matters...the border, Ukraine, Libya, Syria, Isreal, the budget...or who is the worst: CNN, MSNBC or Fox?

    July 27, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  2. G_Edwards

    Alternate HEadline:

    2012 do-over: Mickey Mouse tops Obama

    .

    July 27, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  3. Bradford

    Wake up fools! You voted for a nobody – and look what he has done NOTHING. Yes I voted for Romney, I did my homework. I did not trust Obama- an unknown. He made a lot of false promises and accomplish none. He lies, makes excuses, always finger pointing, spend to much time campaigning – tax payers expense, spends to much time vacationing and playing golf. Do not forget Benghazi! World leaders have no respect for our so call president. And NO, I am not a Republican!

    July 27, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  4. B. Lake

    And one year after Cheney/Bush took office Americans would have overwhelmingly put Gore in the Presidency. Why hell they had already voted for Gore over Bush. The so called Supreme Court just wanted otherwise.

    July 27, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. Patti

    Had Romney won the numbers would be the same, except now they would favor Obama. BTW, what is the point in taking a poll about something that will never be?

    July 27, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  6. Jean Sartre

    Congress is voting next week to repeal the 22nd Amendment, so President Obama may run for a 3rd term. He certainly has my vote...

    July 27, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  7. S.

    Again, this is a poll heavily skewed towards people that still have land lines (66% of respondents).

    July 27, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  8. Bradford

    Wake up! He was a nobody when he was running for Pres. – look what he has done NOTHING. Yes I voted for Romney, I did my homework. I did not trust Obama- an unknown. He made a lot of false promises and accomplish none. He lies, makes excuses, always finger pointing, spend to much time campaigning – tax payers expense, spends to much time vacationing and playing golf. Do not forget Benghazi! World leaders have no respect for our so call president. And NO, I am not a Republican!

    July 27, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  9. McRCN

    The truth be told Democrats would have been more comfortable with Romney that Republicans.

    July 27, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  10. cobra

    The only Obama polls that matter are the ones from 2008 and 2012.

    July 27, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  11. jacques

    If Romney were to run against Obama 10 times, Romney would lose 10 times. Give it a rest, please.

    July 27, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  12. anthony78

    Wheres the poll that says (knowing what we know now) we would've voted for Al Gore vs GWBush?
    Does it even matter? If Mitt had won, we wouldn't have seen any of the obstruction that these current "would be" voters are upset with Obama about (and not the Republicans who caused it).
    Funny how the Rightwing is so confused about whether Obama is a hapless leader from behind, or a heavy handed king forcing his policy on everyone... which is?

    July 27, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  13. joamaeica

    According to obama himself, in his college years he "chose his friends carefully" He surrounded himself with "politically active black students, foreign students, Chicanos, Marxist Professors, structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets "

    Few people in his college class even remember Obama. Probably because he stayed away from anyone who wouldn't share his radical ideas.

    Well this is just more of the same... Obama only bothers to speak to those who will agree with his radical leftist ideology. He will just bypass all of the rules and checkpoints with an executive order and push his agenda through with the constitution under his foot. That is obamas way. He is the classic narcissist.

    July 27, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  14. just saying

    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.
    -–

    can't fix brain dead i guess!

    July 27, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  15. Michael Krieger

    So. Polls like this, and moat polls are meaningless, and pointless

    July 27, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  16. Sal

    Well if Romney would get elected you can say goodbye to all these...Yeah that’s all we need is romney as President. Goodbye Unions, goodbye

    middles class, goodbye health care, goodbye minimum wage, goodbye social security, and

    goodbye medicare as we know it!

    July 27, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  17. Right as Always

    @Save America NOW!: Tanking the economy, trillion dollar deficits, two mismanaged wars, almost a million dead civilians in Iraq alone, along with 5,000 American servicemen and women, plus over 4 million refugees, all for zero benefit!!

    Yes of course. We'd all be pretty stoopid to vote for anything else.

    July 27, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  18. zotquix

    The grass is always greener. After all, Romney promised to get unemployment down to 6% by 2016 (he didn't mention participation rates or "real" unemployment) and Obama already has it that low. If Romney were in the White House now, Obama would win this poll.

    July 27, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Really can't wait to see Thad Cochran,Kevin McCarthy,Thom Tillis,Sheldon Adelson,Rupert Mourdoch,Karl Rove,Lindsey Graham,John McCain,Susan Collins,Hayley Barbour,Grover Norquist and the GOP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea potty's throats EXACTLY like they stuffed Romney down. Straight no chaser. Hillary will drink to that!

    July 27, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. texasnotea

    I'm thinking since Obama is the "worst" President in history,(talk about skewed) why is Romney only picked by thirteen points? Says a lot about the gop, doesn't it. If Romney is smart,but he's not, he would get out of view forever and keep his mouth shut and keep sending American jobs to other countries.

    July 27, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  21. paulruffin

    The GOP are obstructionists and you will lose in 2016 as well.

    July 27, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  22. paulruffin

    The GOP are obstructionists and you all will lose in 2016. It really isn't that hard to beat Obama, but the GOP loves to self-sabotage.

    July 27, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  23. jamie

    Finally we come to our senses, a little late though

    July 27, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  24. George amaral

    Are we talking about the same Romney who was the one tome governor of boston mass . And left with a 30 % rating. No thanks. Shake up the GOP , clean house. And ready for Hillary 2016.

    July 27, 2014 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  25. Al

    Problem is that Obama and the Democrats sold people a bill of goods that was worthless. And in 2016 it looks like Hillary is seeking to cash in on the blindness of the people who voted Democrat in the hopes to continue what has been taking place since 2009. I can only hope that now that people have gotten a sour taste of what the Democrats have to offer that they will remember that in November of this year and then November of 2016. Never should a liar be rewarded like Obama and the Democrats were.

    July 27, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
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