Poll reveals electability issues for GOP frontrunners
December 13th, 2011
08:25 PM ET
2 years ago

Poll reveals electability issues for GOP frontrunners

(CNN) – Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich may be the top choice for Republican primary voters according to a survey released Tuesday, but in a hypothetical matchup with President Barack Obama, he’d be defeated if the general election were held today.

But former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who trails Gingrich by double digits in the poll, fares better against the incumbent president, with only two points separating him from an Obama win in the hypothetical race.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey indicates that Gingrich takes the lead in the race for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination over Romney by 17 points. Forty percent of Republican voters who say they’d vote in a primary selected the history professor as their first choice and 23 percent chose Romney.

Nine percent picked Texas Rep. Ron Paul with Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann in fourth place at 8% and Texas Gov. Rick Perry in fifth with 6%. Perry is followed by former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman who received 5% support and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum at 3%.

Although Gingrich may be at the front of the pack of contenders, if the next election for president were held today, four in ten registered voters said they’d choose him and 51% said they’d vote to re-elect President Obama, whose approval rating remains in the mid-forties according to the poll.

The survey shows GOP primary voters’ number two choice is more competitive with the incumbent president than their number one.

When matched with Romney, the president is only ahead by two percentage points, within the poll’s overall sampling error of 3.1%.

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll was conducted from December 7-11 by telephone among 1,000 adults and 271 registered voters who said they would vote in the Republican primary. It has an overall sampling error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. The subset of Republican primary voters has a sampling error of plus or minus 6 percentage points.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. T'sah from Virginia

    ►Poll reveals electability issues for GOP frontrunners◄

    Really??? When did that happen?

    Obama 2012

    December 14, 2011 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  2. Erick

    Ron Paul will win the nomination

    December 14, 2011 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  3. microburst

    these polls are not real , everyone knows they are media driven and can be made to look anyway the media wants it to be. i mean look at who the front runner is ..... there cant be that many dumb republicans out there. im sure there are more smarter republicans thandumb ones to pick newt as front runner.

    December 14, 2011 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  4. David

    Why do they even mention these polls if only 1000 people voted in them? It's irrelevant when it's that small a number.

    December 14, 2011 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  5. cnncnn

    Gingrich commits marital infidelity when pressured by patriotic duty. As President he will be on Patriotic Duty 24 hours. So he will be committing Marital Infidelity without choice!

    December 14, 2011 03:22 am at 3:22 am |
  6. Shelby

    newtie has got serious electability issues. I like Andy Borowitz's take on this:

    "If Newt Gingrich can have a comeback in 2012, by 2028 we will be looking at President Anthony Weiner."

    December 14, 2011 03:39 am at 3:39 am |
  7. kelsey jones

    i think obama is doing a wonderful considering the fact that he has to deal with the dirty republicans in congress

    December 14, 2011 03:50 am at 3:50 am |
  8. Tony

    How electable is Romney, who cannot get more than one quarter of his party to back him, even though he has been running for the presidency for the last 6 years?

    December 14, 2011 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  9. Just Say No To Flipper

    This will undoubtedly be used by the vile Karl Rove as he tries to ram Romney down the right's throat. He'll seize on these numbers to undermine Newt and try to re-establish Flipper as a viable candidate (which he's not). Then he'll start working behind the scenes to smear Newt. If that doesn't work, Karl will begin working on a bribing as many on the right as he can to endorse Romney. The fact that alleged TPers like Ayotte and O'Connell have already done so is quite telling. They have no principles. Karl convinced them to sell their souls for a chance to ride the Return of the GWB Neocon Machine that Karl is running. If he pulls this off, Rove will have the rightwinger's heads spinning as he plays the "now you have to vote for Romney because he's not that other guy" and the rightwingers find themselves headed down Rove's slaughter chute without even realizing what happened.

    December 14, 2011 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  10. J.V.Hodgson

    Polls, polls and Polls!!
    Stop making it personal.
    START ASKING BASED ON PRESENT POLICIES OR THOSE ESPOUSED BY ANY OR ALL REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES TO DATE OR EXISTING DEMOCRATIC PLANS TO DATE; WHICH OR WHOSE POLICIES DO YOU THINK WILL WORK BEST FOR THE ECONOMY OVER THE NEXT 12 MONTHS
    REPUBLICAN NO TAXES or reductiuons FOR JOB CREATORS agree disagree or:-
    The Adminstrations AJA plan and other Democratic policies agree disagree.
    Options can be given as part 2 of the same question like; fully agree, partially agree, neutral completely disagree,
    or disagree in part here give the parts to disagree with.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    December 14, 2011 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  11. Theodore

    The survey posted makes no mention of any candidates whatsoever. It is a survey of different positions and political topics, but nothing pertaining to electability exists within.

    December 14, 2011 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  12. Victoria avgam54

    the headline of this article cracks me up ha ha ha. Yeah like we could not tell they had electability issues from day one. ha ha ha hee hee hee ho ho ho

    December 14, 2011 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  13. diridi

    Am I forgetting Romney is the one who shipped jobs to overseas.....???????????????Ha....America, forget it not....o.k,

    December 14, 2011 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  14. ChrisM

    Newt is not presidential material. Ever

    December 14, 2011 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  15. Landlineless

    > ...The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll was conducted from December 7-11 by telephone...

    That is, t entirely skipped the generationS of voters who don't have landlines.

    December 14, 2011 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
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