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CNN polls puts Romney over Obama, but behind Clinton

A new CNN/ORC International poll found that Mitt Romney would easily emerge ahead of President Barack Obama in the popular vote if the 2012 election were held today.

The same survey also found that if Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, were to make another run for the White House, he would come up short to presumed Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton by a double-digit margin.

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.

If the 2012 election were held again, Romney would capture 53 percent of the popular vote, while Obama would gain the favor of just 44 percent of voters. The President won in 2012 by a 4-point margin in the popular vote.

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%.

The same poll also indicates that the field for the 2016 GOP candidate remains wide open.

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.

ORC International conducted interviews with 1,012 American adults — 899 of which are registered voters — by telephone from July 18-20.