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. Faye

    What is the point of this poll? The president is not perfect however he has done a good job with keeping us safe, helping the economy improve, helping the middle class, and helping the uninsured get health care. This is all of the promises he made when running for office in 2008. If Romney had won, I guarantee we would be in war with several more countries and still have troops in Iraq. The media has become a pawn in the Republicans PR campaign to paint this president in a negative light in order to gain political points in the upcoming elections.

    July 27, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  2. Joe Truth

    Shame, shame on the whites that voted for the seditious half-Kenyan piece of garbage!

    July 27, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  3. Johnson

    Americans have become clueless.
    Hillary would be like 4 more years of Obama.

    July 27, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. weston777

    If that witch wins it will be the final death blow to this country !

    July 27, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. Anonymous

    Stop wishing! Obama won a real election TWICE consecutively. No amount of wishful thinking will ver change that. Rather focus on immediate REAL problems facing AMerica and the world today than useless polls which are not representative of reality. Just to add leading up to the election every one of your so-called "polls" indicated Obama would lose, that itself should indicate what a waste of time these are. AS I say wishful thinking that is continually being indulged in by those in denial of the first Americam black presidency. Unfortunately for them, its not going to change the fact that he is and is there to stay while doing a very good job of it too!

    July 27, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. Robjh1

    LOL! The voters would probably reject both!

    July 27, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  7. Raj

    People who participated in this poll have not heard Romney speak in a while. Amnesia is a great healer.

    July 27, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  8. Ben

    John Thune or Susana Martinez should be included on the poll. Christie cannot win. He's not trusted by the movement conservative base.

    July 27, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  9. Dave

    Completely worthless poll. Bottom line is, President Obama won in 2012 and Mitt Romney will not ever.

    July 27, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  10. abcontador

    course if Romeny were pres we would probably be in another war

    July 27, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  11. drake mallard

    Mitt Romney the answer, going back to the old Republican ways that caused it in the first place? Americans have very short attention spans. They usually can only remember about a year ago.This guy doesn't get the economy: Romney's campaign was based on the notion that because of what he did running investment firm Bain Capital, he understands the economy. So it's perfectly reasonable to examine what his experience at Bain really taught him. After all, Bain wasn't in the business of creating jobs; it was in the business of making money. The truth is, the high unemployment rate is due to people like Romney outsourcing jobs. That's why middle-class Americans are suffering so much. China didn't just steal our jobs all by themselves. Romney and other profit-driven executives like him wrapped up the jobs in a great big package, put a bow on it, and gave the jobs to the Chinese. Now, maybe the Chinese would have taken some of them on their own, but Romney didn't have to push the jobs out and happily give them away. Mitt was a pioneer in sending jobs out of the United States to China. This is the person you want to be president of the United States

    Romney supported the Vietnam War, but did not enlist. Instead, he got
    draft deferments and worked as a missionary ["minister of religion"] for
    31 months, for the Mormon church, in France, one of those "European
    countries .From Draft Dodging/flip-flopper War Mongering Mitt Romney Foreign Policy Equals Endless Wars

    July 27, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  12. hugh harvey

    Polls always say whatever the person paying for them want it to say.

    July 27, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. OrmondGeorge

    I would love to see the demographics on the polls represented here.

    July 27, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. Shills

    The election was NOT accurate or TRUTHFUL. It's corrupted and it has been exposed for 20 years!

    July 27, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  15. OldSchool

    Warren 2016

    July 27, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  16. Jimmyjam048

    This poll simply illustrates that many Americans are in fact , stupid.
    Romney would have wreaked our economy and we would still have thousands of men dying in Iaq.

    July 27, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  17. Jack Be Humble

    The next president should replace two SCOTUS seats. That alone makes this coming presidency important.

    July 27, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  18. hugh harvey

    I don't thing Mutt Roomy could get elected dog catcher in the state of insanity.

    July 27, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  19. teakiller

    The failure of Obama to right the ship rests on one simple fact – his total lack of qualifications to take on the biggest job in the world. If Americans insisted that candidates running for president had significant knowledge of economics and experience in leading a big organization rather than just personalities and good speaking skills, we might have seen totally different results.

    July 27, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  20. linefeeder

    what is the point of this poll? What's Romney's record as president during the same period having to deal with the same domestic and international issues, and an impotent Congress?

    July 27, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  21. Thomas

    And if Mitt Romney had been elected president , the poll would be Obama 60 , Romney 40 .

    Americans blame everybody but themselves , or Congress . We The People ?

    July 27, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  22. Tony D

    Obama = 40%. GOP Congress = 7% 'Nuff said.

    The problem with your stupidity is that another poll says only 40% of Americans actually know who controls Congress! Because the MSM hammers the Republicans all the time, many people think they are in control when they are not. Also, many think the Democrats are in control when they answer they don't like Congress.

    Sadly, most do not know that Democrats control half of Congress, but of course the left wing propaganda machine doesn't hammer them and Harry Reid for blocking everything sent to them. This is the power of the left wing news media to paint a false left wing Democrat narrative.

    Liberals always bring up this stupid poll but it is totally ridiculous when you know most Americans are clueless about Congress, that it has two houses and that it is split in terms of control. When people are this uninformed and uneducated, they are especially vulnerable to the liberal manipulation of the press.

    July 27, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Last I checked Obama is president, so who cares if Romney would have won or not! Ridiculous if you ask me considering the repukelican party has tarnished their reputation when Bush was in office. Bush having destroyed the economy, murdered innocent woman and children in Iraq in an illegal war, I'd say a 5yo is better off as president than some repuke!

    July 27, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  24. gustifer53

    Not sure why the GOP is Bit**ing about Obama. He won fair and square. Mainly because the GOP/Tea Party didn't then and doesn't now have a viable candidate for POTUS. The GOP/Tea Party Clown car, is exactly that, a Clown Car. NONE of them should come close to Washington D.C., stay away, they are Extreme, insane, and dangerous. Not a good combination for POTUS or any other political office. I say get rid of everyone of them and start over with some who at least have a little compassion and common sense.

    July 27, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  25. tomdavie

    The reason Romney is winning the poll now is because of the Presidents handling of issues since the election. Its always far easier sitting on the sidelines because nothing is your fault. The person in power is held to account for everything.

    I think the President has made his mistakes but all in all has done a good job considering the situation he walked into.

    July 27, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
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