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

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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%.

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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. Tschrny Wolf

    Just weird propaganda, while Hillary Clinton suceeded and became secretary of state, romney sank into political oblivion after he was defeated, fortunately 🙂 He represents the gop and tea party walking dead 🙂

    July 27, 2014 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  2. the truth

    i mean seriously, i'm going back to USA Today News. for some reason CNN is starting to sound like FOX NEWS Bash the current president because he is not a repube. When Clinton replace him are we going to join FOX and Bash Her too??? Dumb, its congress that needs that kind of attention not the President no matter who is in the White House.

    July 27, 2014 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  3. Ancient Texan

    Buyers remorse has finally set in? About time. If Romney had won, we would have seen a distinct turnaround in the economy by now and the border would have placed under tight control. If the millions of Conservatives that didn't vote because Romney 'wasn't conservative enough' or because he was a Mormon had done their part, this conversation would not be happening.

    July 27, 2014 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  4. Chad

    Probably the stupidest, most useless poll. I'm surprised it gets any airtime. Could have, would have, should have. A poll of what if's. About as dumb as it gets. Let's run a poll on Hitler vs. the Kaiser. I'm sure that would have come out in favor of the Kaiser. Good grief these polls are dumb.

    July 27, 2014 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  5. Dick

    Mitt would would loose the elections even with Obama. Obama has a strong leadership skills and knows how to talk. Mitt cannot talk and too many lies so he will loose. The numbers are not right. The problem is Obama is more straight and has asked Republicans like John Boehner to corporate but it will not happen because they are racist and hate Obama. That is why he has blocked all the bills and stubborn and refuse to pass the bill and uses tax dollars to sue the President. This is wrong. The Republicans also shut down the govt. They need to be all thrown out and they do not do any work. Poor Obama does a great job and is tired dealing with these bad Politicians who have the power of the Purse.

    July 27, 2014 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  6. mcp123

    "Obama told us that the Russians are no threat...their threat ended years ago." Actually not what he said...but GOP'ers will believe it anyway. The Russian conventional military isn't as much of a threat as it was...but they like many other countries have nuclear weapons. Notice they aren't really threatening Europe proper though...

    July 27, 2014 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  7. mcp123

    "Sorry folks...we're past the point of no's hopeless. This all ends with an armed rebellion." Sorry Civil War already lost... BADLY...and would lose again.

    July 27, 2014 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  8. MrComments

    So they do a poll on an election, but don't do the poll by state to get the electoral college? Funny.

    And how many times did Bush lose to Gore in polls after about 2003? Maybe 200?

    July 27, 2014 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  9. JJ

    No do-overs in loser town. Myth is history. 🙂

    July 27, 2014 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  10. Liz the First

    What this poll shows is how many people forgot how bad things got under the last republican 'president.' and how many people are falling for the republicans' disgusting ploy of trying to keep things bad so they can blame Obama. if Obama was the dictator these haters think he is, they'd probably all be rotting in Gitmo by now. our economy is almost back to before the Bush debacle, Wall St. is breaking all-time records. If Obama is a socialist, he's the worst ever. but if he walked on water and raised the dead, the repugs would still find ways to blast him for it. time to vote the haters out!

    July 27, 2014 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  11. Greg

    President Obama is a disaster. Why people did not catch onto this sooner is incredibly bizarre. President Romney could have been the saving grace for a country spiraling madly out of control.

    July 27, 2014 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  12. vaughndk

    Who is this Romney guy? Isn't this the guy that paid to be governor of some state and that was his only political experience? Obama, his administration, our House, Congress, Senate, Republicans, Democrats, Tea Party, ALL politicians and our political system is a joke. We vote these people in based on lies that they tell us and then when they get into office all they're concerned about is their big donors. How about letting the citizens of this country vote on the actual matters that affect us such as giving foreign aid to countries like Israel, Pakistan and Afghanistan? How about letting us vote if we want to get involved in a military conflict? Our Founding Fathers would be ashamed of our politicians today.

    July 27, 2014 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  13. agathokles

    So what? Given opportunity for a do-over, a majority of voters would have cast ballots for Gore over GWBush. Oh.... wait..... they already did!

    July 27, 2014 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  14. Mike


    Romney would have had us in 4 wars and counting. He is a out of touch Billion air. He has little to offer me. The only reason Obama's numbers are down is the American people need a civics lesson. The House has the Power of the purse. The President can get emergency monies for a crisis. These Teapublicnas won't do their jobs. They wont bring the jobs bill to the floor. It has renewable energy jobs in it. Boehner's House of Pain can't allow that. How will they get their gifts and kickbacks from Oil and Gas companies? These men in The House are trolls. They only are working 130 days this year. How nice for them. I wish I could make 200,000 for working 130 days. What a rip off of Americans. They get their health care not us. They get a good wage not us. They get shelter. Not us. Why are we paying them mor3e then the min. Wage. They are federal employees. They won't pay their aids. These men are vile. Ryan's plan for the poor is a TROJEN HORSE. Don't believe for one min. his warm and fuzzy lies. Kinder, gentler my a$$. He is a fool. He is a rich kid who never went without anything. Just like Romney. Romney and his wife are the biggest snobs. They care nothing about us. They are in it to make lots of money due to all the insider trading in D.C. Romney only looks good because the House of Pain is still not doing anything they are suppose to be doing. Now they attacked the ACA. These racists will do anything to make Obama look bad. They are using bait and switch. To bad you don't know a trick when you see one.

    -Looks as if you are one of the low information voters and by the looks of your post you didn't pay attention in school either. No wonder you are so confused.

    July 27, 2014 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  15. J Perez

    no such thing as a do over. Romney doesn't have the years of the Presidency to have a track record.
    Totally stupid article

    July 27, 2014 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  16. Jolat

    I'm a Republican and I can say this story is a useless waste of space on your site CNN. You are not factoring in the fraudulent voting in the heavily low information neighborhoods where Obama got 110% of the vote. If the election were held today, Obama would win.

    July 27, 2014 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  17. Alan

    And if my Bubbie had balls, she'd be my Zeda

    July 27, 2014 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  18. Dean

    There are no do overs, idjit. Just another pot stirrer.

    July 27, 2014 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  19. Dean

    PS. How come I never get to participate in these polls? Anyone else think they miss out on all these "representative" polls?

    July 27, 2014 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  20. Eagle0841

    We told you so..........Period!

    July 27, 2014 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  21. Demigod Vadik, CA

    Completely absolutely the most useless and inaccurate poll...

    ...2+ years of Obama bashing, while comparing that to some vague idea of someone named Romney...

    ...Romney had his chance, and head to head...LANDSLIDE Obama

    July 27, 2014 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  22. Matt

    If you voted for Obama and DON'T regret it, I'd recommend staying home next time. Better to let the grown-ups pick our next President.

    July 27, 2014 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  23. Al

    Hillary will win hands down 2016- 2024

    July 27, 2014 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  24. so what

    Why vote for a successful business man to run our country. That really doesn't make sense. We need to continue to increase our national debt and a successful business man would probably hinder our progress.

    July 27, 2014 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  25. Adie

    WHO CARES?!!!! What a ridiculous poll. Guess what? Had Romney been elected, a poll two years later would have shown that the country regretted that decision as well. Why? Presidents have to make unpopular decisions. Pleasing all is impossible! I'm done with CNN. Preposterous reporting.

    July 27, 2014 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
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