CNN Poll: Gingrich lead gone, dead even with Romney
December 19th, 2011
11:55 AM ET
3 years ago

CNN Poll: Gingrich lead gone, dead even with Romney

Washington (CNN) - Newt Gingrich's lead in the race for the GOP presidential nomination has evaporated, according to a new national survey.

A CNN/ORC International Poll released Monday indicates that 28% of Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP say the former House speaker is their choice for their party's nominee, with an equal amount supporting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. In CNN's previous national poll, conducted last month, Gingrich held a 24%-20% margin over Romney. And Gingrich's lead over the rest of the field of candidates was even larger in other surveys conducted at the beginning of this month.

Full results (pdf)

"Early-December polls from other organizations tended to show Gingrich's support in the mid-30s with Romney in second place, so the current figures indicate that Romney has recently gained ground at Gingrich's expense," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

According to the new CNN survey, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas is in third place at 14%. That's a five point rise for Paul since last month's poll. The survey indicates Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota at 8%, Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 7%, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania at 4%, former Utah Gov. and former ambassador to China Jon Huntsman at 2%, and nine percent undecided.

With 15 days left until the Iowa caucuses, which kickoff the presidential primary and caucus calendar, the poll indicates that only 35% of Republicans are definitely supporting the candidate they're currently backing, with the rest undecided or willing to change their minds.

So what's behind Romney's rise and Gingrich's drop in the poll?

"Romney's appeal to Republican voters seems to be based mostly on his personal qualities, many of which - including likability and trustworthiness - are problem areas for Gingrich. For Romney, that's not a bad position to be in when six in ten Republicans say that personal characteristics will matter more than issues when they decide which GOP candidate to support," Holland said.

The survey indicates that a plurality of Republicans nationwide say that Romney best represents the personal qualities a president should have. Romney is viewed as the most honest and trustworthy candidate, with only 12% saying that Gingrich is the most trustworthy Republican in the race - his lowest score on any item tested.

And Romney is seen as the most likable Republican in the field, beating Gingrich and Bachmann on that measure by a two-to-one margin.

"Gingrich has one major advantage - he remains the candidate who Republicans view as the strongest leader, with more than four in ten giving Gingrich a thumbs-up on leadership," Holland added.

Just over four in ten Republicans say that they think Romney, who's making his second bid for the White House, is most likely to win the GOP nomination, regardless of whom they are backing, with Gingrich four points back at 37%. Everyone else is in single digits. As for which candidate has the best shot of beating President Barack Obama next November, 36% say Romney and 35% say Gingrich, with everyone else in single digits.

More than eight in ten Democrats and independents who lean towards the Democratic party say they want Obama to be renominated next year.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from Dec. 16-18, with 1,015 adult Americans, including 436 Republicans and independents who lean Republican and 497 Democrats and independents who lean towards the Democratic party, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Also see:

Bachmann pauses in Iowa tour to talk 'myth' of Kinsey Report

Paul claims Bachmann 'hates' Muslims

S.C. governor rallies crowd for Romney


Filed under: 2012 • CNN/ORC International poll • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Polls • Republicans
soundoff (136 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens is now over 25%? I think hell just froze over.

    December 19, 2011 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Since when have conservative politicians paid any attention to polls that they didn't like? The conservative reaction to an unfavorable poll is to declare it a messaging problem. That the rabble need to be better taught what to think.

    December 19, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. willie floyd

    How long are we going to have to look at Bachman every time we log on????

    December 19, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. Ron Paul

    Why not post the PPP Poll that was released last night?

    RON PAUL IS WINNING IN IOWA!

    December 19, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  5. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    In Rasmussen numbers, Mittens 28% approval – 72% disapproval still gives him a negative 44% among republicans.

    December 19, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. jeff

    well the repubs finally woke up to what a lowlife this guy really is

    December 19, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  7. Tom

    This is not a surprise. The honeymoon period is over. Now they have to slog it out.

    December 19, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  8. Not All Docs Play Golf

    This just in: Newt's fall in the polls reflects his recent choice of new official campaign slogan: "Bah Humbug".

    December 19, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  9. GoPaul

    1,015 people? Why should we take this survey seriously?

    December 19, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  10. Kyle

    Actually CNN, all polls now indicate that Ron Paul has 21% and a solid lead in the race. Stop lying and actually report the news for once.

    December 19, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  11. lol

    Who does telephone surveys anymore.

    December 19, 2011 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  12. Brian

    Finally some good news. Romney leans left, but Newt leans dirty.

    December 19, 2011 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  13. Logic in LA

    After reading Sunday's LA times article where Newt says he would fire judges he didn't agree with and would ignore the Supreme Court, His numbers will continue to drop. Ego-driven Newt is back!

    December 19, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  14. Mike

    It doesn't matter. None of these guys can beat President Obama

    December 19, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  15. mark

    Why not post the poll where Ron Paul is leading in Iowa now?

    December 19, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  16. Brian

    Flavor of the month already getting old?

    December 19, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  17. Cranky Yankee

    I'm just enjoying the show, watching the piranhas devour each other. Failed ideologies, failed policies, and failed polticians.

    December 19, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  18. vatoloke

    Of course the Grinch's lead petered out. It's the Christmas Holidays and no one likes the Grinch, especially at this time.
    But you still come up with one solid candidate to beat President Obama.

    December 19, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  19. Jay Tea

    But but but what about IOWA? Who is winning in IOWA CNN? WHO? WHO? Tell us please!!!!!

    December 19, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  20. Bill Moore

    I was told that Ron Paul had a 10% ceiling nationally.

    What is his "new" ceiling?

    December 19, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  21. Dan, TX

    The republicans (other than Dr. Paul) indicate they would take military action against Iran if it does not stop its nuclear weapons program (and the republicans already KNOW Iran will not stop). Thus, electing any republican other than Ron Paul means we are arrogant ranters with no action, or we are stupid enough to get into a war with Iran. I won't be voting for the republican. If Iran gets a nuke, they will never use it. Drop it on Israel – nonsense that would destroy some of Islam's greatest holy sites and the Palestinian people and their homeland.

    December 19, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  22. D M

    Another highly flawed poll. Let's look at the sample demographics:
    ( Go to Page 9 of the following document to see the details )

    100% White
    100% 50 yrs old and older
    100% from the south region (no NE, Midwest, or West)
    100% Urban & Suburban (no Rural)

    As far as this being representative of a NATION POLL can only be called a JOKE!

    December 19, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  23. Manny

    What time was this poll done? if it was more than 6 hours ago things may have changed...

    December 19, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  24. JPX

    "So what's behind Romney's rise and Gingrich's drop in the poll?" It's quite simply, really, Gingrich is loathsome/swarmy on every level. He's unpleasant to look at, he's a serial cheater, he has a vile personality, and his name is "Newt". This guy could never be president.

    December 19, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  25. Robert104

    In a new poll, 100% could care less about the "NEW CNN POLL"!

    December 19, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
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