If the 2012 presidential election were held today, a new poll finds that Republican nominee Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyLobbying World Republicans wary of US action on Iran The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico MORE would top President Obama in a popular vote.

The CNN-ORC International poll, however, puts former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP struggles with retirement wave Overnight Energy: Trump to revoke California's tailpipe waiver | Democrats propose bill to revoke Trump endangered species rollback | Trump officials finalize rule allowing fewer inspectors at pork plants Mark Mellman: The most important moment in history? MORE ahead of Romney by double digits in the hypothetical match.

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According to the survey released Sunday, more voters view Clinton as "strong and capable," adding to the consensus that she is seen as the key frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.

Romney bests Obama in the poll 53 percent to 44 percent, but falls to Clinton 55 percent to 44 percent.

"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 10 of them are women, and 56 percent are independents."

The polling numbers also show an increase in the last month in the number of Republicans who support New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R).

Obama's approval ratings have generally flatlined at about 42 percent in recent months.