Poll: Romney takes top spot in 2012 race
November 11th, 2011
01:00 PM ET
2 years ago

Poll: Romney takes top spot in 2012 race

(CNN) – Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney tops a new survey released Friday with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich besting businessman Herman Cain for the second spot, though Cain is close behind.

But only three in 10 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say they strongly support their candidate and the percentage of those who say they're undecided on their vote is that same as those who would vote for Cain.

Nearly one-quarter of those surveyed in the McClatchy-Marist Poll say they would back Romney while Gingrich has leapfrogged Cain for second with 19% support. The conservative former radio talk show host is close behind with 17% saying they'd vote for him if the 2012 Republican primary or caucus were held in their state today. But 17% of those polled say they remain undecided about the race for the GOP presidential nomination.

The slim margin separating those four choices falls within the poll's sampling error of plus or minus 5.5 percentage points, indicating the top three candidates are tied.

Amid accusations of sexual harassment, Cain still is among the top three candidates in the poll taken entirely after the news of the allegations broke. And almost seven in 10 Republicans said they didn't want Cain to drop out of the race, although 34% believe he did something unethical, though not illegal.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul took fourth place at 10%, followed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 8% and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann at 5% in sixth place. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum were tied with 1% support.

Although 30% said they strongly support their candidate, a number unchanged since September, almost four in 10 said they were "somewhat" supportive and 31% said they could still change their mind.

And loyalty varies among the top three: Roughly four in 10 Gingrich supporters were firmly committed to their choice, but 31% of Cain backers said the same. Thirty percent of Romney supporters said they're firmly committed as well.

The McClatchy-Marist Poll was conducted by telephone among 1,072 adults including 827 registered voters and 347 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents combined. It has an overall sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Also see:

Poll: Three-way battle for GOP nomination

Gingrich: Not running for 'super governor'

Bachmann: Protesters were 'ignorant' and 'disrespectful'


Filed under: 2012 • Polls
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. redbanker

    Romney's problem is talking to the Repub base. I can make it simple: go OINK, OINK, OINK.

    November 11, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. Democrat Party - leftist "progressive" socialist communist losers hellbent on destroying the USA

    Too many polls all telling us essentially the same thing.... it is too early to tell ANYTHING until the vote actually starts.

    November 11, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  3. vet in texas

    Wait till Americans read that Mormons believe the actual garden of eden was in the state of Missouri.

    I mean, they believed that Obama would get his marching orders from Muhamed, I'm sure they will get a kick out Joseph Smith.

    Mormonism, the western version of Islam.

    November 11, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  4. Fair is Fair

    Keep your eyes on Newt...

    November 11, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  5. Voice of Reason

    I love that Cain is still tied with 'none of the above'. Newt wont have any staying power either, though. He DID take $300K as a lobbyist for Freddy Mac, then lied about it on national TV. He's cheated on all three of his wives, but had the gall to be the one leading the charge against Clinton back in the 90s. He talks like a stuffed shirt, who's more concerned with proving to everyone else how much smarter than them he is – than with getting the right answer in the first place.

    So like we've all known all along – It's Mitt. And slick as he is, you know that Obama's going to cut him to ribbons in a debate. On Wednesday when Jon Huntsman shut Mitt down on China – we saw the difference between someone who has the nice slick words, and someone who knows what the real facts are. Expect more of the same.

    November 11, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  6. Yellow-Rose

    vet in texas

    Wait till Americans read that Mormons believe the actual garden of eden was in the state of Missouri.

    I mean, they believed that Obama would get his marching orders from Muhamed, I'm sure they will get a kick out Joseph Smith.

    Mormonism, the western version of Islam.
    **********************************************************
    Actually, Obama gets his marching orders from George Soros and 'Rules for Radicals' by Saul Alinsky. Muhamand is someone he prays to.

    November 11, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  7. SaintM

    This sounds good for Mitt the git....for now. Voting for the repubs candidate is a couple of months off, and the ONLY
    vote that counts is a year from now. I'm not sure the ticker headlines will be the same for him 10 or 11 months from now.

    November 11, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. RIPRNC

    Romney, the skinniest kid at Fat Camp.

    November 11, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair warned:
    Keep your eyes on Newt...
    ---------–
    Liberals and conservatives alike will watch Newt, but only conservatives will take we says seriously. Liberals think he's a joke, and the Perry "forget-me-not" routine has become stale. It is time for change. It's "Newt-Foot-In-Mouth" Time. It's loosely based on 'Howdy Doody".

    November 11, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  10. Phil in KC

    Oh, gee, what a shame. Actually, I'd love to see Herman Cain win the nomination. After the latest charges, I can't see a majority of women voting for him. Then take into account his lack of knowledge on foreign policy and his extreme right-wing views losing him a number of independents. Obama would beat him running away.

    November 11, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  11. vic , nashville ,tn

    Yes past 5 years in top spot with 25% great

    November 11, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  12. The Other Michael in Houston

    Wow Yellow Rose, how nice of you to take time out of you Tea Klan meeting to post on CNN. If anything, President Obam takes his marching orders from the 80 plus million who voted for him. Who cares who is in the lead for the GOP race, none of them have any chance of beating President Obama, us 80 million plus will see to it. Get use to this Republicans, the 46th President of the United States will not be elected until November 2016.

    November 11, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  13. curious

    God save America from this devil.

    November 11, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  14. westward

    Romney, the lesser of 8 evils? At the end of the day – Romney can't pull a national election.

    November 11, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  15. Peace

    Whats wrong with the reporting of these kids. They mentioned before it was Cain leading now it is Romney. Which is which? What poll should we take as legitimate. CNN please get people who are reasoning in reporting. This kind of reporting is taking you further south and down. I feel myself very disappoint in the network I once trusted very much in reporting!

    November 11, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  16. Pravaa

    Sometimes wish that just to make up for all this silliness of Cain, Perry and Bachmann, we could get Huntsman and Obama to go at it in a moderator less debate for 4-5 hours with breaks as needed. They should be asked to debate their domestic policies, the China angle, middle east including Iran, the crisis in Europe amongst other things. Would be a treat to listen to such a debate minus all the shenanigans. Oh... and have live real time fact checks go on on the spot as they finish a segment.

    November 11, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  17. NVa Native

    Top spot in the bottom of the barrel – I'm sure he's pleased.

    November 11, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  18. nathan

    Pravaa most Americans would have no idea what they were talking about.

    November 11, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. Puddinpop

    Whenever one of these articles says that candidates being within the margin of error in difference indicates they are tied (and they do it a lot) it annoys me. It does not indicate they are tied. You know how one of these polls indicates candidates are tied? By showing them as tied. The sampling error only gives you an idea of how strongly it is being indicated. This poll "indicates" that Romney is leading. But the sampling error tells you that this indication is relatively weak, and probably shouldn't be relied on. Bottom line being that this poll is pretty much useless except for giving math challenged cnn web site contributors something to write about.

    November 11, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  20. Laverne

    Well repubs looks like you guys are stuck with Mitt Romney afterall, hee hee! Listen I know it is a hard pill to swallow and Sarah Palin is probably looking real good to yall right now, but it looks like it's MITTens off for Willard! Good Luck with that one!

    November 11, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    Haha...Newtered topping Cain is such excellent news: with Cowboy Fonzie in full-on epic fail mode and Cain imploding like a white dwarf into a black hole, all the "anyone but Mittens" voters in the GOP/Teatroll base are telegraphing that they are, in fact, for "anyone but Mittens" and thereby highlighting their disaste for him. What this means is that when Mittens eventually gets the nomination, which he will becuase Newtered is just pain unelectable and most GOPers/Teatrolls know at least that, it will create an "enthusiasm" vacuum for the GOP/Teatrolls in the general election. Can the GOP/Teatrolls' reliance on "anyone but Obama" voters trump their loss of "anyone but Mittens" voters in 2012? Stay tuned...

    November 11, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  22. Realmen

    I'm going with Ron Paul. If he doesn't win, we're dead.

    November 11, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  23. Debby

    I like both these men for Pres. Gingrich has more experience in certain aspects where Romney is good for the economy. Both men would do great debating against Obama thats for sure. Perry is to wishy washy while Cain's alleged gropping scandals are hurting him.

    November 11, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    nathan wrote:
    Pravaa most Americans would have no idea what they were talking about.
    ----------
    Spoken like a true neo-con, speaking his cause. Most liberals would understand and follow the discussion.

    November 11, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "Top spot in the bottom of the barrel"

    That's the fish that usually takes the first bullet.

    (BTW, unbunch the panties...that's clearly not intended to be a violent analogy, but to simply refer to the "shooting fish in a barrel" idiom and claim that's how easy it will be for Obama in 2012)

    November 11, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
1 2