Gingrich up in swing states, but Romney holds edge in general election match-ups
December 8th, 2011
06:00 AM ET
7 years ago

Gingrich up in swing states, but Romney holds edge in general election match-ups

(CNN) - Newt Gingrich's lead in three key battleground states has expanded into the double digits, according to a poll released Thursday, but Mitt Romney is still slightly more competitive in potential match-ups with President Barack Obama.

The survey - from Quinnipiac University - shows Gingrich, the former House speaker, pulling away with a clear advantage in Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio.

Florida, which will hold its closely watched primary on January 31, has seen heavy campaign traffic from the GOP candidates, including Gingrich, who campaigned there in late November.

When presented with the Republican candidates vying for the 2012 nomination, 35% of registered Florida Republicans said they'd back Gingrich, while 22% named Romney. The other candidates all fared in the single digits.

In a potential race against the incumbent president, however, Romney held a more competitive position than Gingrich. Romney slipped past Obama in a general election match-up 45%-42%. When Obama faced Gingrich, the former House speaker garnered 44% and Obama nabbed 46%.

Gingrich's rise among his Republican rivals is a steep increase from the last Quinnipiac poll in Florida. That survey, taken in early November, put former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 21% in Florida, and Gingrich at 17%.

The frontrunner back then was Herman Cain, the former Godfather's Pizza executive who suspended his presidential campaign last week. Twenty-seven percent of Florida Republicans backed Cain in the earlier poll.

Gingrich saw a similar spike in Ohio, where 36% of registered Republicans said they'd vote for the former speaker. Romney followed nearly 20 points behind at 18%. Again, the other candidates in the race all polled in the single digits.

Romney and Gingrich fared identically against Obama in a hypothetical Ohio general election, each picking up 43% of respondents compared to Obama's 42%.

Like Florida, Ohio's numbers for Gingrich are sharply different from a month ago, when 11% of Republicans said they'd back him, compared to 20% who supported Romney and 25% who picked Cain.

Ohio votes relatively late on the primary and caucus calendar, but if no clear frontrunner emerges by the time Ohioans go to the polls, the state's large number of delegates will be coveted by candidates hoping to secure the nomination.

Pennsylvania, which is considered a must-win for Obama in the 2012 general election, shows narrow margins between the president and the two frontrunning Republican rivals.

In a match-up with Romney, Obama sneaks by 46% to 43%. Gingrich fares worse, getting 40% of the vote to Obama's 48%.

Like Ohio, Pennsylvania holds a late presidential primary. Gingrich is running well ahead of his Republican rivals, with the backing of 31% of registered Republicans. Romney, in second, was at 17%.

In all three states, Obama's approval rating stood well below 50%. In Florida and Ohio, 41% of voters approved Obama's job performance, while in Pennsylvania 43% approved. Obama won all three states in the 2008 election.

The Quinnipiac poll was taken by telephone from November 28-December 5. In Florida, 1,226 voters were polled and the sampling error was plus or minus 2.8 percentage points. 1,437 voters in Ohio were surveyed, with a sampling error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points. In Pennsylvania, the poll reached 1,453 voters and had a sampling error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.

Also see:

A brash Christie takes on OWS, shares Romney's personal side

GOP candidates court Jewish Republicans

Gingrich confident in campaign's staying power

CNN Poll: Gingrich front-runner in 3 of first 4 states to vote

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Polls
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Creaturz

    I find it extremely hard to believe there are enough dumb people in the world to allow this low life to "surge in the polls". I mean, come on people. just listen to one interview with this fruitcake and you should be able to figure out he's one of the "crazies" that gave us Bush jr.

    December 8, 2011 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  2. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    SO, Gingrich does better against Romney. The question is really how well does he do against Obama. It doesn't sound like he would win. This is based on a really small survey though. I'd like to see 1% of the population from each state to get a better sense of what is going on for the fall. That would be a preview, but wouldn't be anything definitive.

    December 8, 2011 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  3. zanny

    Please Reublican voters do not put this mean, corrupt man in the White House. Our country is already in trouble because of the hatred that spews in Congress. This horrible man would be the final starw. He demeans paople, attacks them, has no family values, will turn on a dime to attack someone plus anyone this chummy with Donald Trump and his gigantic over inflated ego is really scareybecause they are too much alike. Wake up and stop encouraging this hatred. Our country needs better times..

    December 8, 2011 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  4. Andrew

    That's one of the most awkwardly worded things I've ever read. Extracting info from that mess gives me a headache.

    December 8, 2011 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  5. bill.x

    just think, with gingrich's new child labor law policy, instead of going to school, kids will be able to work the fields and tough labor jobs right along with their parents, and without any labor protections.

    December 8, 2011 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  6. Patricia Murray-Zarzour

    Newt Gingrich has surged in the polls because he understands the complex issues and gives reasonable solutions to these problems. He has the expertise to turn our country around. Does he have a perfect record...of course not...he's human. But if I had a rare life threatening disease, I would want the most knowledgeable experienced physician to care for me. I think people understand that Newt Gingrich represents that expert in the political arena. Go to to view his solutions.

    December 8, 2011 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  7. Rcike1949

    Our country is floundering. The Chinese are gaining on us. Congress and the President appear to campaign all the time. The debt is getting the the "Grecian" level.
    We need problem solvers; someone who can really reach across the aisle. Although I would not want Clinton nor Gingrich to be my pastor, they got the job done in the 1990 and we as a country were on a upward trajectory. At this point I will hold my nose and likely vote for Gingrich.

    December 8, 2011 08:01 am at 8:01 am |

    The only thing that this Quinnipiac University is known for is the polls and even they don't do that right. The reason why Republicans don't like Miit Romney is because they know he won't be able to beat Obama no matter how much CNN and all these other polling entities try to damage Obama by showing him trailing in the polls. They did the same thing with Al Gore and what happened in the end? Gore had more votes than Bush and all these polls including Gallup, Quinnipiac et al had it wrong. I don't know why CNN is so fond of publishing any polls that show Obama's just pathetic.
    As for Quinnipiac I wish the institution should find something better to be known for than being in the polling business and always getting it wrong.
    Try to graduate better students.

    December 8, 2011 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  9. Reddog9500

    "Gingrich saw a similar spike in Ohio, where 36% of registered Republicans said they'd vote for the former speaker."

    So much for their "Family Values" claim. The President and the Democrat Party better take notice that the Republicans don't give a damn that Newt is a sleazy weasel (or would that be a slimy salamander?). They would vote for the Devil himself if they thought he had a chance to beat Obama. And when he gets the nomination, be prepared for dirty tricks and vote rigging that will make Putin's election look like child's play. ("Now where's Rove when we need him?)

    December 8, 2011 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  10. Joe Shmoe

    No mention of the fact that Ron Paul scores highest in head to head matches with Obama.

    I'm wondering where all these Newt supporters are, as I've yet to meet one Republican who actually likes or trusts the guy. Seems like the MSM is putting the spin on these polls in the "anyone but Paul" race.

    December 8, 2011 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  11. Lions in the sky

    Gingrich....the American version of Benny Hill.

    December 8, 2011 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  12. BertD

    Swing states, aren't they those states that could switch from gay to straight and back at any moment?

    December 8, 2011 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  13. king

    the american people is set to do it again with these repubs candidated lets hold on to our chairs as we watch corporations take charge of the american economy can we say the movie terminator. i wonder where will the american people be if the stock market crash or dip real bad. i wonder what we will fall back on. hey you guys beat up obama as much as possible but he brought back our country from a depression.

    December 8, 2011 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  14. Rudy NYC

    I was amused listening to "Morning Joe" while sitting in traffic this morning. Joe was lamenting about how he doesn't understand the attraction voters have for Newt Gingrich. He sounded like a Democrat wondering how voters can vote for any Republican.

    December 8, 2011 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  15. nell

    Please, Newt and the Teaparty folks, ramp up your campaign!

    December 8, 2011 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  16. sortakinda

    Gingrich is full of hot air. Naturally, he rises. But when he breaks wind, then, my friends, where will he be?

    December 8, 2011 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  17. Punk

    Ron Paul is the only one, that will TRULY do what he is saying now. We shouldn't spend money on Israel, and if you're wandering why is that, the answer is "why should we?".
    Paul is the only true and honest candidate, he has my vote not becouse I agree on every single thing with him, but becouse I agree on 90% of what he is saying and he says what he realy thinks, NOT WHAT PEOPLE WANT TO HEAR AT THE MOMENT!

    God Bless Him, RON PAUL 2012!

    December 8, 2011 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  18. Mollybee

    You would think that with a sorry personal and political record like Gingrich’s the Republicans would never nominate him as their presidential candidate if they expected to win. But I wouldn’t rule it out, for the driving faith of the GOP has become the notion that the toxic mixture of moral hypocrisy and unfettered greed is a formula for victory. Newt could be their man.

    December 8, 2011 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  19. WireweirdinSF

    Surprise an article about Gingrich in the Ticker, must mean it is time for the dope addicts to degrade and demean him. Anyone care about the story about how Obozo stole the election in Indiana with the help of a corrupt union boss turned democrat liberal county chairman? You probably won't read about it in CNN or any of the other lliberal media.

    December 8, 2011 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  20. Anon-i-mouse

    Regardless if you like Obama or not, how can ANYONE like ANY of these GOP clowns?!? Huntsman could have been a standout if he and stuck to his heart and not sold out to ultra-right. Honestly, I don't see how any of them will manage in a general election when they are under the blazing spotlight, compared head-to-head with Obama.

    December 8, 2011 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  21. Bob

    Yes, the master plan is working. Get the GOP to put up a mediocre candidate with a very questionable/exploitable past. Yes, it's almost complete now.

    December 8, 2011 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  22. Tea Party

    Just goes to show the GOP will vote for any nominee that FOX tells them too. All these ANTI_Lobbyist GOPers are going to vote enmasse for a Lobbyist.

    December 8, 2011 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  23. Rev. Lovejoy

    A little flour, salt, water and yeast: you get a lump of dough that rises. Same thing. A large white shapeless mass of goo.

    December 8, 2011 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  24. joe smith

    always nice to see the intellectual cream rising to the top..perhaps he could influence those who have the power, to find an empty room in Allenwood Federal Prison for jon corzine..and while they are at it, throw away the key..

    December 8, 2011 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  25. JonWi

    Who in their right mind would even consider this emotionally vacant, morally bankrupt criminal for the US presidency?

    December 8, 2011 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
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