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CNN poll shows Romney beating Obama, losing big to Clinton

A new poll shows Mitt Romney currently winning against President Obama, but losing to Hillary Clinton.
A new poll shows Mitt Romney currently winning against President Obama, but losing to Hillary Clinton.
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

A new poll released yesterday from CNN shows that if a new presidential election were held today Mitt Romney would defeat President Obama by nine points in the popular vote. However, the same poll shows Romney trailing Hillary Clinton by thirteen points in a hypothetical matchup. The following is an in-depth breakdown of the poll. For more polling updates up through 2016 presidential election follow this page on Twitter, Facebook, or subscribe through the link on the left.

The Overall Numbers

  • Mitt Romney (53 percent) versus President Obama (44 percent)
  • Mitt Romney (42 percent) versus Hillary Clinton (55 percent)

What the Poll Means

In 2012 President Obama won the popular versus Mitt Romney (Obama 51.01 percent to 47.15 percent for Mitt Romney) and won the Electoral College by a 332-206 margin over Romney.

Presidents typically become less popular in their second term and the losing candidate from a presidential election tends to become more lovable after he is no longer viewed under the harsh lens of political campaign. The results of the CNN poll regarding Romney versus Obama should, therefore, come as no surprise. As much as Republicans may want to re-hold the election today that is not going to happen, just as Democrats did not get the opportunity to re-run against President George W. Bush after Bush's popularity tanked in his second term.

The more significant data from the poll is the results showing Hillary Clinton with a sizeable lead (13 points) over Romney. Unlike Obama, who is barred under the Constitution from running again in 2016, there is a very real chance that Clinton does run. This poll adds to others which show that Clinton is the favorite should she decide to run, despite the rumors of "Hillary fatigue" from media members following the release of her book.

Comparison to Other Polls

The CNN poll simply confirms many other polls that show Clinton leading nationally against potential Republican candidates. A Real Clear Politics average of polls shows Clinton with a nine point lead against Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a 9.5 point lead against Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), a 10.0 lead against fmr Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL), a 9.6 point lead against fmr. Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR), a 6.7 point lead against. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), a 13.8 point lead against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and an 11.5 point lead against Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).

In fact, every national poll released since March from seven different polling organization all show Clinton leading all major potential Republican candidates by at least three points.

The Sample

Every poll is ultimately based on a sampling of potential voters. A number of factors can influence the poll's accuracy such as sample size and composition

In this poll CNN surveyed 1,012 adults including 899 registered voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.0 percentage points. Quinnipiac called both land line and cell phone users.

Of the poll's respondents, 24 percent identified themselves as Republican and 32 percent identified themselves as Democrats. The largest group, 44 percent, identified themselves as independents. These party identification breakdowns might slightly underweight the strength of Democrats. A CNN exit poll in 2012 found that 38 percent of the state's vote identified as Democratic, with 32 percent identifying as Republican and 29 percent as independents.

The Pollster

In his 2012 ratings Nate Silver found CNN to be an above average pollster in terms of accuracy. In ten polls done before the 2012 presidential election CNN showed a 0.9 point bias for the Republican candidate, on average, when compared to the actual results from the election.

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