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.
See full results (pdf)
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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.
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We still don't like him except to run against President Obama who could be his twin.
The $250M flip flopper is the most hypocritical candidate, and that is saying a lot, of our time.
Wherever the wind blows he is swept up in what he should say today. I am surprised he can keep anything in that rich brain of his straight!
How can you not like a guy that calls you envious. Go Willard...I hope next we can hear how you will bring all Americans together rich and poor...
Romney audiences does not look like America it is mostly white. How will he reach out to Latinos, Blacks and Gays this is a problem for him because of his extreme views.
The same can be said about the rest of the republican runners.
Another story designed to secure the nomination for Romney. The moneyed interests in this country have it all figured out. Both Obama and Romney are under their thumb. The status quo will be maintained.
And by June, Romney will be hated by everyone for every reason imaginable. More of the up-and-down-again.
Perhaps you could tell us how to like him. The man is just not likable.
He's not nice to dogs!
Winning helps his likeability? Um..no.
Romney would direct this country to prosperity and pride, Unlike President Obama. Everyone I speak too knows this President is leading towards Socialism. Yell it from roof tops.....He has to go...
Paul Steinhauser, you need to get some fresh air.
A Republican voter here looking for a candidate give Obama his change. But this is not the year to be part of the 1% of the 1% and trying to win the presidency in a general election against Obama.
Whether it's the politics involved or a one on one debate, Romney will get trounced by Obama. I don't understand what people are thinking that believe Romney is electable.
I think Gingrich is the only one that has the intellectual and ideas firepower to best Obama one on one. And when it comes to consistent conservative principles and track record, Newt is the clear choice over Romney. I will be making a contribution to the Newt campaign if he comes out on top or ties Romney in SC.
I'll move to Mexico if this rich con artist becomes our president. He shows NO leadership, just a love of money.
The US government is NOT a business
Romney has my vote. The liberal press is really going after him with both barrels which can only mean one thing... they are very afraid of him. Obama will be 4 and the door. Obama is a failed president with failed policies. His wife still hates America and has never been proud of it, until of course when she started living in the white house with the Hollywood elites. Obamanation has disgraced this country long enough.
How can you tell when the 'Mutt man' is lying? When his lips are moving!
Mitt Romney will be a GREAT president!
As a young business owner, I'm interested in what Romney plans for corporate tax rate? Any idea anyone?
Electable or Anti.social Per.sonality Di.sorder?
Jon Huntsman's comprehensive solutions to create jobs and revive our flailing economy are endorsed by the Wall Street Journal and described as "the most pro-growth proposal ever offered by a US presidential candidate."
I hate to be incendiary, but this article paints the average Republican as either dangerously out of touch or criminally stupid. 49% favorable ratings for a guy (Santorum) who thinks that condoms should be illegal? Way to vote the bandwagon, GOP, but maybe pay attention to who's riding on it on the off chance that you, oh, I don't know, WIN?
People need to read up on some of the companys he has handled. He goes in restructures by cutting jobs. I will not waste my time or vote for him.
dont believe the mormon lies
Yeah, people "liked" GWB also, and he was a complete disaster as president. Flipper is simply Karl Rove's latest version of GWB, another puppet for the neocons hidden among the elites. Flipper and GWB are both spoiled rich kids riding their daddy's coattails. Neither has had to work or suffer to any great degree. Both pal around with bloodthirsty war criminals like Dick Cheney. Both have a psychopathic disdain for regular people, though at least Romney is more honest about it, and doesn't even pretend to be "compassionate."
It's amazing that Karl Rove can successfully steer the rank and file voters down the slaughter chute and into Romney's camp when for the last three years so-called "conservatives" have been screaming "Bush wasn't really one of us!" It's gonna be really tough for all those people to claim their party stands for anything, beyond being a deathcult for torture and tax cuts for the filthy rich, when all they can do is trot out the same warmed-over manure from the GWB reign of error.
Well I don't find that he is likeable. He doesn't have my vote.
Where are the numbers Obama vs. Romney? Why are you not releasing those?
Not only will Robomney maintain the status quo, he will probably advance American interventionism. Anyone really think that the man who INVENTED Obamacare will act to repeal it? What color is the sky in your world? Smoke-filled room politics is alive and well and living in the heart of Mittens.