Washington (CNN) - Going two for two in the first two contests of the primary and caucus season is paying dividends for Mitt Romney, according to a new national survey.
Besides topping the horserace for the Republican presidential nomination, a CNN/ORC International poll survey released Friday indicates that the former Massachusetts governor's favorable ratings are also on the rise, and that he also comes out on top on what's supposed to be his Achilles heel, health care reform.
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"Americans love a winner and Republicans are no exception during this primary season," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Mitt Romney, with wins in Iowa and New Hampshire under his belt, has seen his favorable rating among Republicans rise by eight points."
The survey, conducted Wednesday and Thursday, after Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, indicates that 67% of Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP now say they hold a favorable opinion of Romney, who's making his second bid for the Republican nomination.
According to the poll, Rick Santorum has seen his favorable rating jump 19 points from November, to now stand 49%. The former senator from Pennsylvania, once an afterthought in the race for the nomination, was just eight votes shy of beating Romney in Iowa.
Forty-seven percent of Republicans say they now hold a favorable view of Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, up seven points from November. The longtime congressman, who's making his third run for the White House, finished third in Iowa and a strong second in New Hampshire.
But former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who finished fourth in the first two contests after facing a blistering series of negative ads, saw his favorable rating plunge 12 points, to 49%.
On issues, Romney has an advantage over his GOP rivals on the economy and the budget deficit. That makes sense, as Romney touts his business and corporate world experience. But the poll indicates that Romney also has a ten point advantage over the other Republican presidential candidates when it comes to which candidate would do the best job handing health care.
That's a surprise, as Romney's rivals have criticized his 2006 signing into law Massachusetts' sweeping health care reform, which included an individual mandate for coverage. Conservatives say the law, called "Romneycare," was the inspiration for the national health care reform law, that was passed in 2010 by a Democratic controlled Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama, and is much despised by Republicans.
According to the survey, a plurality of Republicans think that Gingrich could do the best job on foreign policy. Santorum manages a tie with Romney on the issue of abortion. Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, criticized by some of his rivals for allowing in-state tuition rates for some undocumented immigrants, tops the list when it comes to illegal immigration.
The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International, with 1,021 adult Americans, including 449 Republicans and independents who lean Republican, questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.
Gingrich calls out own super PAC, sort of
Romney mail piece touts endorsement from Nikki Haley
Santorum begins S.C. push by contrasting with Obama
Colbert for president (again)
We'd like to get your overall opinion of some people in the news. As I read each name, please say
if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of these people - or if you have never heard of
Barack Obama 49% (favorable) 49% (unfavorable)
Yes, I do believe the American people are ready to show Obama the door in a very big way come November. Unfavorables that high are his undoing. ADIOS OBAMOS!!!
Wolf, I hope Ron Paul is ok, he's not looking to good. I pray for his health.
Not with me he doesn't! He's a m oderate and w e c onservatives do not want him for that reason, not for his f aith like the m edia would have you believe. You can't have it both ways.
of course we now know that the only reason not to like Mitt Romney is due to ENVY!
The biggest message from this poll just shows you can't fix stupid.
OBAMA/BIDEN 2012/WARREN 2016
Just because Romney played the POTUS in Independence Day does not mean that he is a credible option!
why do people like him? i'm having trouble finding anything likeable about him. I certainly can't find any qualifications he has to run our country.
Romney is a cheater and a profiler. He's a man paid by the government to win this damn election, and the government will do anything to make him president. Ron Paul has been cheated yet AGAIN. This is all BS.
I would really like to know how on earth anyone could ever think that Romney would be a fit person to run the USA. What is wrong with the American people ? Can they not see through this man? He will say anything and do anything to get to the White House. Yes, people just take a second look and try listening closer to what he says. He may be surprised !!!
The only reason he is anywhere at all in the polls is due to the poor group of candidates vying for the position of President. That does not say much about American politics.
Okay I get it.
After 5-6 years of campaigning in Iowa (2007 – 2012) tons of money... and a field of six others splitting the vast majority of votes, Romney is the winner. Same for New Hampshire only that is his (home town) as everyone who ever lived in the northeast knows besides his home there even the Boston TV channel rules those airways.
Now folks jump on the band-wagon of the winner...of the winner that says Americans "envy" inequality of money...while his inequality of money makes him what pundits call a "winner"
Guess we get to wait and see how Willard does in S.C.?
Huh, republicans are ready to endorse Obama's health reform?? That's a change!
Yeah, a lot of people like being told whatever they want to hear. Mitt Rmoney is good at that. And maybe that's what we have come to. To get elected, just say whatever your audience wants you to say.
That's a DOGgone shame!! I guess he's these people's DOG – meaning a good thing?!!! So all of the haters need to stop DOGging MITTens because he is still likeable!! U GO DOG!!!
For anyone paying attention, it's not the fact that he's likeable. It's that he can't be trusted. I will trust Obama, even though he hasn't done all the things he promised, because the Republicans basically gave him too much in terms of economy and wars for him to turn it around in 4 years. I don't want to go back to that, and know Obama will steer us out of this mess if he's got 4 more years to accomplish his goals.
I don't approve of the job cremator! You didn't poll me.
I'm actually usually pretty reserved when it comes to politics, but who would like this guy? Look at his campaign donations and look at his positions. He ignores those who don't agree with him. You're trying to become president, not dictator. You serve us, not we serve you. If you don't listen to us now, will you ever?
The guy is so artificial, I find it difficult to believe anyone could like him. We never know where he stands on any issue since he will flipflop in favor of a vote.
Mitt is a FAILED, 1-term Governor with 34% approval (even with all the leftist work he did). He is a POPULIST, and a PHONY at that. proof: "Mittstant Replay" youtube *SPREAD THE WORD*
I admire and like Gov. Romney greatly.
Hes likeable, thats the only reason he is winning. the rest of the Republican field is unlikeable, except for Ron Paul who is completely insane. I dont even know what Romney believes in. Its still better than 4 more years of Obama
Character is best defined by how one treats children and animals. Romney was cruel and heartless to his own dog. What makes you think he will treat the American people any better?
Romney is a weasel who will steal your retirement fund. Since when has crook become a synonym for capitalist? How much did all this cost the taxpayer?
Romney likeable? That's as silly as saying Romney is honest or that he isn't an elitist. LOL
I noticed tonight on the news that John McCain finally got something right.
He said "I have faith that President Obama will turn this economy around".
Of course, that was in SC, and it WAS and OOPS. ha ha ha ha ha
Or maybe he finally spoke the truth. (But then, he also said selecting $P as his BEST decision ever). OOPS again. ha ha ha ha ha
Likeable? When he says to those who object to the financial shinannigans on Wall Street that they are just jealous? He's about as likeable as a rattlesnake... no offense intended to rattlesnakes.