Looking ahead to 2016, a majority of voters said they would prefer former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Romney and there appears to be growing support among Republicans for Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Rick Perry of Texas.
Romney, who lost the popular vote 47 percent to 51 percent in 2012, would win 53 percent of the popular vote if the election were held today, according to the CNN/ORC International survey, which was conducted from July 18-20 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
This is a sizeable increase from 2013 when a separate ABC News/Washington Post survey found that Romney would win 49 percent of the popular vote to Obama's 45 percent (of course, neither of these surveys say whether Romney would win the Electoral College, which Obama won in 2012 by 332 votes to Romney's 206 votes).
Sorry, America. You don't get do-overs on presidential elections. You have two more years of this. Better get used to it.
But seriously, although the survey shows an apparent shift in the public’s opinion of Romney, it ultimately doesn’t matter: The former governor has stated repeatedly that he has no plans to run again in 2016.
And even if he did, the CNN survey also found that voters overwhelmingly prefer Clinton, who remains the likely Democratic nominee, to Romney, with 55 percent of survey respondents saying they'd support the former secretary of State.
"Politically speaking, there is an interesting group of people who would not vote for Obama but would pick Clinton over Romney," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said in the new report. "It turns out that nearly seven in ten of them are women, and 56 percent are Independents."
However, although the poll found that voters see Clinton as a more capable leader than Romney and even Obama, her approval rating has managed to slip in recent months.
"The number who say that Clinton shares their values dropped from 56 percent in March to 51 percent now, and the number who say she cares about people edged down from 56 percent to 53 percent in the same time period," CNN reported.
Clinton's lower numbers come as she tours the nation promoting her new book, Hard Choices, a tour that has featured some pretty regrettable gaffes, including several ham-fisted attempts to downplay the family impressive $150 million fortune.
"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,” he added.
The CNN survey also found that the GOP has no clear frontrunner for 2016. The poll revealed that Perry and Christie have both improved in their standing among their peers, each increasing in approval by 5 percentage points, up from CNN's last Republican nomination poll, which was conducted just a few weeks ago, but Republican voters are still split over who they'd like to see represent the party in 2016.
The poll surveyed 1,012 adult Americans aged 18 and older by telephone.