CNN Poll of Polls: Romney & Cain battle for top spot
October 13th, 2011
11:18 AM ET
3 years ago

CNN Poll of Polls: Romney & Cain battle for top spot

Washington (CNN) – Talk about going from zero to 60 in no time.

Go back just a month or two, and Herman Cain was near the bottom of the field of candidates in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Fast-forward to present day, and the businessman, former Godfather's Pizza CEO and radio talk show host is battling for the top spot.

A new CNN Poll of Polls of the GOP race indicates that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is on top of the field of candidates, at 23%, with Cain just three points behind, at 20%. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who was the front-runner in the national polls in the race for the Republican presidential nomination from late August through much of September, is at 14%, followed at 10% by Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who's making his third bid for the White House.

The CNN Poll of Polls, an average of the latest four national surveys in the GOP race, was compiled and released on Thursday. It indicates former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in fifth place, at 6%, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota at 5%, and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and former Utah Gov. and U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman at 2%. Eighteen percent are supporting other candidates or are undecided.

In one of the surveys used to compile the CNN Poll of Polls, from NBC/Wall Street Journal, Cain is on top, with the support of 27% of likely GOP primary voters, with Romney, who's making his second bid for the Republican nomination, at 23%. Cain's four point advantage is within the survey's sampling error.

Cain's been surging in national polls in the crucial states that vote early in primary and caucus calendar, thanks in part to his "9-9-9" tax plan, which calls for a 9% national sales tax, a 9% personal income tax rate, and a 9% corporate tax rate.

Much of Cain's new support may be coming from Perry's drop in the most recent surveys, thanks in part to his uneven performance at the GOP presidential debates, his poor showing at a much-watched straw poll in Florida in late September, and the constant attacks he endured from rival campaigns over his stance on illegal immigration, border security, and Social Security.

The current CNN Poll of Polls is an average of four national polls taken entirely in October: the NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll (October 6-10); the Reuters/Ipsos Poll (October 6-10); the Washington Post/Bloomberg Poll (October 6-9) and the Gallup poll (October 3-7). All of the surveys were conducted before this Tuesday's GOP debate in New Hampshire. The Poll of Polls does not have a sampling error.

While not as crucial as polls in the early primary and caucus voting states, national surveys are a closely-watched barometer of the popularity of the candidates and a gauge of the strength of their campaigns.

Also see:

RNC boasts record-breaking fundraising for September

New Hampshire primary could be early December

Jeb Bush issues Romney praise


Filed under: 2012 • Herman Cain • Mitt Romney • Poll of polls • Polls
soundoff (160 Responses)
  1. Jim

    Neither Romney or Cain will win the nomination. Simple fact is Republicans are simple folks who will vote for people who looks like them and share their same values. Cain is just too dark, Colin Powell would have had a good shot because he is cream colored. Romney is a Mormon and that is a definite no no.

    October 13, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  2. sunny lovetts

    The establishment media might actually win this infowar if they keep overlooking Ron Paul. We may be screwed yet again people, because propaganda works and still sadly people only think what the TV tells them to think.

    October 13, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  3. eciam

    Cain will start sinking very soon in the polls along with his 999!
    I'm a fifties African American male, I've never seen a presidential candidate attack his own race with so much UNTRUE negativity like Cain has, It's Shameful.
    I believe 97% of Afican Americans will not vote for him.
    Not one person in my living family tree likes him.
    All of the surveys being printed were conducted before this Tuesday's GOP debate
    The 999 sinks, his negativity stinks, he needs to stop talking about race and blacks so much.
    America has tons of other important issues he needs to start addressing.
    Stop being such a charlie!

    October 13, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  4. skyjmpr

    It's interesting. Romney's numbers never move much, up or down. The 'flavor of the day' comes and goes (first Bachmann, then Perry, now Cain) carving up the remaining 75-80% Romney doesn't poll amongst each other, but Mitt stays fairly constant.

    Mitt has whatever minority faction of 'mainstream Republicans' still remains, while the others connect in one way or the other with the remainder. The scary part is that 'mainstream Republicans' have been so greatly diminished that they can't be considered as 'mainstream' any more, and the Tea Party coup has succeeded. Wonder what the polls would look like if you (hypothetically, of course) took Romney out of the mix?

    October 13, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  5. Todd

    I have no faith in anyone running for president again...

    October 13, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  6. obandon

    Cain is just like all the others in the race – out of touch with anyone who is not in the top 1%. He is labeling all of those good decent hard working folks who are unemployed due to no fault of their own as lazy and wanting to get rich for doing nothing as are most of the Republican hopefuls. The 9-9-9 idea would only destroy the poor more. The more fortunate of us may benefit some by the plan but the majority of tax payers won't. Remember he is only talking about Federal taxes and not state taxes. So he is adding a NEW tax to everyone. This is IN ADDITION to any State Withholding taxes and State & Local Sales taxes. His plan again will only help the rich just as all the other Republican ideas.

    October 13, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. Clwyd

    Cain has no nation wide network working for him. I don't think that speaks well for his future. I would never vote for a pizza salesman for president! Would you?

    October 13, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  8. Mike

    The republicans have a problem. The Tea Party, which controls the republican party, favors Cain who is unelectable. Romney should be the nominee but the Tea Party does not support him. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. By the way, where is the rights support for Bachman? It's with her campaign which is rapidly heading south.

    October 13, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  9. Andrew

    so you may potentially have a millionaire black conservative or a white northwestern Mormon as a Republican nominee running against a half-black hawkish democrat.
    WOW! I like to see the faces of those rednecks in the deep south when it comes election time! LOL

    October 13, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. me

    Well, Ron Paul has my vote. I know a heck of a lot more people that trust him than they do Romney or Cain. Romney is a political Ken doll, and Cain is already lying through his front teeth without batting an eye. You all can try to avoid Dr. Paul, but America is listening with or without you. Gaurantee your ratings would be through the ceiling if you gave him the coverage you did Perry when you were promoting him or the coverage you are now giving to Cain. Paul is the ONLY one to defeat Obama. Putting Obama against Cain will just divide our country even more because they are BOTH liars. Put somebody REAL against Obama, and you have a true face-off. Question for CNN, why do you try so hard to avoid Ron Paul? Really, you wear it on your sleeve and that makes a lot of folks not trust your motivation.

    October 13, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. Vet

    Vote Obama, Romney, or Cain if you want more war. Obama Romney and Cain all want to invade Iran and continue the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya for eternity. They are all war mongers.

    Except Ron Paul. He wants to end the military wars as well as the drug war. Vote peace!

    October 13, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. John

    Pizza king for Prez?? how about the pillzberry dough boy!

    October 13, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  13. Dreamer96

    The Liberals don't want to tax the average american, but Cain does, his 9 9 9 aproach will drop the 35 % tax rate for the wealthist, and drop it to 9%, get rid of the Capital Gains tax all together, so the hedge fund managers will get a great deal, and push more taxes on families by adding to the cost of food, and daily expenses they are having a problem with anyway...SO Cain plan will really shift taxes from the wealth to the 99%

    October 13, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  14. tom

    No shock Cain rose towards the top - He devised a bumper sticker tax plan that's simple enough for the Republican base to understand yet is a complete sweetheart deal for the wealthy and big corps, so Republican elites will like it, too.

    October 13, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  15. Albert

    Cain needs to realize that running a country like the US is NOT the same as running pizza joint. 9.99 may work for a large thin crust with pepperoni BUT it doesn't work in an intricate national taxation and economic system.

    October 13, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  16. reverance

    Dr Paul is at 10% with little to no coverage or fairness in the debates.. Just wait until Mainstream America hears his message of peace self determination and liberty.

    Ron Paul for President 2012

    October 13, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  17. jerseyshore

    as Harry Belafonte says, "Cain is a bad apple".

    October 13, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  18. Ciiku

    Cain is really not a contendor. He's raking in media ratings. The media is giving him too much play time, because Perry is a door knob. Mr. El' Stiffo Romney is the only guy who looks like he might get the normination. He's the best of the worst in the line-up.

    October 13, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  19. Jacob

    Restore America – Ron Paul 2012 – its that simple

    October 13, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  20. Mark

    Flat rate across the board, term limits for Congressmen.
    That's what I want to see. Fairness first, then figure
    out the particulars. Too simple? What's your agenda?

    October 13, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  21. Grampa

    If Cain really is the last hope for a fading, increasingly desperate Tea Party, then he may last a little longer than Bachmann or Perry. But I really can't see him beating Romney for the nomination. The Tea Party will either hold their collective nose and vote for him when the time comes, or they will guarantee an Obama win. Actually, Obama will win anyway, but grudging Tea Party support for Romney could at least make it interesting. Isn't it hilarious that Bachmann is now routinely losing in the polls to Gingrich? Talk about a meltdown!

    October 13, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  22. Dreamer96

    Rommey has stated he believes life beings at conception, so given his way there would be no birth control pills..are condoms ok, if not the only way to stop unwanted births is no sex at all, like that works, or sterilization of groups of the population, which has been suggested by conservatives many times.. The current medical view is life is when the fetus can survive outside the mother's body, when the lungs, heart, brain, organs have developed to the point that you have a individual person. While this has always been a controversal arguement it has been the law for years now, and the majority of the country support this law, and to protect the mother's rights too. It is a deeply personal decission and government should stay out, we do have churches to teach their own morals, outside of the government control..

    October 13, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  23. Russ in PA

    So why do so many people believe there is a difference between Republicans and Democrats? Has Obama ended the wars? Or ended the use of drones? Or ended the Patriot Act? Or refused to assassinate Americans? Or ended the bail outs outs of failed companies and banks? Or allowed people to purchase raw milk? Where exactly is the difference between what Republicans do and what Democrats do?

    Once again Ron Paul was right. Ron Paul in 2012...

    October 13, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  24. eciam

    Obama 2012, he never said it would be easy! Kicking and Screeming
    The party of NO has hindred our eco. growth.
    What's with the GOP and the rich folk/big business money.
    As a nation we have given then tax break after tax break, local, state and federal.
    They still took there mfg. , jobs and money overseas!
    GOP need to get over (it)

    October 13, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  25. Telchristina

    Mr.9-9-9 will become Mr.0-0-0 when the wind blows backwards.Blacks will NOT vote for him along with Asians.

    October 13, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
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