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. C. K. Justus

    I cannot imagine anyone but a staunch republican voting Gringrich unless of course they cannot remember from one day to the next!!!1

    December 13, 2011 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  2. preprogrammed

    The fact that the republican'ts and tea holes would even consider this lying, fat adulterer is beyond comprehension. Desperation is definitely alive and well and I'm sure President Obama is laughing his butt off....I know I am.

    December 13, 2011 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  3. jerry

    who would have thought obama was electable? Given his job history and activist past. So I would submit any of these running on the GOP ticket would be electable...for sure.

    December 13, 2011 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  4. Davie

    Neither Romney, nor Gingrich, will get the nomination.

    December 13, 2011 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  5. Showmeyerpapers

    Not only have illegal invaders slit the throats of the working man they are responsible for 75% of the crime here in denver radioreference dot com monitor police and ems frequencies for yourself they must have killed 250000Americans in the last 50 years look at lapd online all most wanted 95% spanic. I knew newt was the sh samich. I dont care if an illegal sailed with washington , REMOVE THEM! The states want the laws ENFORCED PERIOD! Theyll bankrupt EVERY STATE! LOOK AT CALIFORNIA FOR GOD SAKE! Mehico is a cultural catastrophe and our govt has helped them spread their societal ills across our great nation. We would have the highest standard of living on earth if it wasnt for the constant stranglehold on our economy due to the invasion and occupation of our soverign land. Look noone wants to break up families just be sure to get them all on the same bus with the anchor offspring seated up front. What about all the american families torn apart by the federal invasion policy in effect. The

    December 13, 2011 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  6. Jilli

    Gingrich may do well in a republican primary, but he'd get CRUSHED by Obama in a national election.

    December 13, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  7. Showmeyerpapers

    What about all the areas of our country where the standard of living is govt aid, where the american society has been utterly destroyed and unrecognizable. We once had the greatest nation on earth, now in so many places all we have is "the streets" depressed mehican varios or barrios as they are so proud to say. My once quiet street is now a mexexpressway . The clovis were here long before any mehicans or indians ever existed and they were WHITE. I say deport them all every single one of them, if theyve married americans send them along. Its time to go home and fix their rathole country and stop sucking us dry and preying on innocent americans!

    December 13, 2011 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  8. charlie avila

    The united states voters, if they re-elect obama for president, will put the nation into the hands of the illegal immigrants, and risk it into another no-winners belic conflict against iran, china and rusia, and involve israel, and global security. Obama is not a good president. It was a voters mistake!!....

    December 13, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  9. Whatever

    Ron Paul beat Obama in a few different polls. You'll never hear that from CNN though. Ron Paul appeals to a huge percentage of Independent's as well as a sizable portion of staunch Democrats and Republicans. Ron Paul is the very best hope this country has to defeat the Socialist Party in 2012.

    December 13, 2011 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  10. m

    No surprise here. The GOP = GREEDY OPPOSITION PARTY has such terrible candidates in the top tier that it is laughable. Huntsman is probably the only real candidate in the race, but he can't break out because of the Tea Party wackos dominating the process.

    December 13, 2011 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  11. BTP

    When are they going to disclose the Paul v/s Obama results with all registered voters instead of just the Rep Primary sheep? Its Paul or Obama in 2012. Republican primary voters: Govern yourself accordingly...

    December 13, 2011 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  12. sonny c.

    If Obama does win reelection, will the Repubs. in Congress then devote their energy to trying to help out the Middle Class ?

    December 13, 2011 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Ron Paul has moved into tie for 1st in Iowa. Ron Paul 2012 !!!!

    December 13, 2011 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  14. ARMYCSM

    Stupid Romney doesn't deserve to be president. The fool running around the country attacking Obama while GingRICH cleans his clock from the rear. This idiot is so pompus he feels he can just show up and beat Obama. I don't think so, silly rabbit!

    GingRICH/Rubio 2012

    December 13, 2011 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  15. Ann Marie

    Ya think?

    December 13, 2011 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  16. MaryM

    Really? ya think. LOL

    December 13, 2011 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  17. rich

    It does matter who GOP puts up. They are all clowns at the top. When Ron Paul makes the most sense something is wrong! Only ting missing is Palin to make it a full act!

    December 13, 2011 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  18. Rick McDaniel

    We shall let the voters decide this race.......and not the poll takers, or the media.

    December 13, 2011 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  19. American Patriot

    Is this really a surprise? Americans have a memory span lengthier than a fish, after all.

    December 13, 2011 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  20. Luke

    Ron Paul is the most intelligent out of the crowd, hands down.

    December 13, 2011 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  21. dan hanscom

    Had CNN or MSN or any of the established news outlets been as detailed about digging into the background of Democrats in the last election as they are this time around about Republican candidates maybe we would have learned more about Liberation Theology, Obama's 20 yr mentor J. Wright, and that it's a fundamentally Marxist ideology – maybe, just maybe, we'd know more about the man who wants to bankrupt this country. It's absolutely amazing to me that this President, the Media's President, has been given a pass on his ideologic perspective. What does he believe? We have yet to hear it from his own mouth!! This is especially significant considering that he was an unknown, first term Senator without any past record of what he stood for. Why would MSN, CNN , MSNBC, etc... not have considered this in disclosing to America who this guy was? And what if, in the future, we have a more radical candidate that the media will not propertly report on his or her background? This country is in big trouble and the hole we are digging just continues to get deeper. Let's be honest for once, please. Let's rightfully rename the Democratic Party to align with a more global consistent definition – the Democratic Socialist Party of American. The "party" knows this, the media knows this – it's just the uninformed pubic who is clueless. Honesty in the media is simply a lost value....

    December 13, 2011 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  22. pete4808

    hahahaha Those polls are as fake as this report. Ron Paul will win ...I bet anyone $10,000.00

    December 13, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  23. Larry L

    Once we're past the Republican circus phase of this election people will focus on the truth. Republicans were primarily responsible for our economic failures and they obstructed all attempts to recover. That's the plain truth. Not the Fox News BS – the actual truth. Voters can see the group of corporate lap dogs and radicals the Republicans are offering... and the choice will be a no-brainer. Obama remains the only adult in the room.

    December 13, 2011 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  24. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I have to say this is a laughable lot of Republicans that are running for the nomination. I don't think that any of them could face Obama in the general election and win. They just don't understand the needs of the country.

    December 13, 2011 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  25. Thomas

    After these two boys beat the heck out of each other. It will be funny to watch them kiss and make up to be on the same ticket.

    Kennedy and Johnson

    December 13, 2011 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
1 2