CNN Poll: Gender and income gaps in GOP nomination battle
February 14th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: Gender and income gaps in GOP nomination battle

(CNN) - A large gender gap appears to be developing between supporters of GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, as well as a split between white collar and blue collar Republicans, according to a new national survey.

A CNN/ORC International poll also indicates that Santorum supporters are much more highly motivated than those backing Romney.

See full results (pdf)

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"The new numbers indicate a split in the Republican party that goes deeper than ideology, with signs of a gender gap and class warfare breaking out in the GOP ranks," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

According to the survey, released Tuesday afternoon, Santorum and Romney are basically all tied up for the lead in the race for the GOP nomination. Thirty four percent of Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP say they back Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, with 32% backing Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who has been at or near the top of national polling over the past year. Santorum's two point margin over Romney is well within the survey's sampling error.

The poll indicates that Rep. Ron Paul of Texas is at 16%, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 15%. Four other surveys released over the past day also suggest the race for the nomination knotted up between Romney and Santorum. All of the polls, including the CNN survey, were conducted entirely after Santorum's victories over Romney, Gingrich and Paul last Tuesday in caucuses in Colorado and Minnesota and a non-binding primary in Missouri. Santorum's sweep of the February 7 contests sparked his surge in national and state polling, and cemented the perception that Romney was having a hard time locking down support of core conservatives.

Santorum's newfound support may be coming from Republicans who backed candidates who are no longer in the race, like Texas Gov. Rick Perry. But the poll also indicates that Santorum's surge is also the product of a notable gender gap, with Santorum holding a 10-point edge among Republican men and Romney winning Republican women by nine points. And Republicans who describe themselves as blue collar are backing Santorum by 11 points over Romney. But among those who say they come from white collar families, Romney has a 10-point advantage.

The poll also indicates Santorum topping Romney 45% to 29% among self-described tea party movement supporters, with Romney edging out Santorum 34% to 29% among people who don't describe themselves as tea party supporters.

It's a similar story when it comes to self described born-again voters, with Santorum leading that group by a 42% to 24% margin over Romney, and Romney beating Santorum 40% to 26% who don't describe themselves as born-again.

"According to the survey, Santorum Republicans are also much more highly motivated than Romney Republicans, with more than half of Santorum's voters saying they strongly support him, compared to less than four in ten Romney voters - and enthusiasm for Santorum as the eventual nominee is highest among the four remaining challengers," adds Holland.

Nonetheless, an overwhelming number of Republicans see Romney as most likely to win the GOP nomination, and a majority continues to believe that Romney has the best chance of defeating President Barack Obama in the November general election.

Are Republicans happy with the remaining choices in the field? The poll indicates the answer is yes, but satisfaction with current candidates has slipped 11 points since the fall. And the eventual winner may receive a less-than-enthusiastic response from the GOP rank and file. Only a third say they would be enthusiastic about a Santorum victory, and that puts him at the top of the field. Only one in five say they would be enthusiastic if Romney were the nominee.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from February 10-13, with 478 Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Also see:

Romney seeks to unite conservatives

Protestors disrupt Santorum event, get arrested

National Review calls for Gingrich to leave race

Pro-Romney super PAC increases buy in Michigan

soundoff (258 Responses)
  1. TonyK

    Why any blue-collar worker would vote republican is totally beyond me. With the anti-labor (and not just anti-union) stances of the GOP, the assualt on family values (Gingrich for one), and the long history of GOP pandering to the well-heeled and wealthy, it makes no sense that working men and women would support these suits.

    February 14, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  2. Reload

    @rizzo writes "Believe me, if everyone like you would leave the country, we'd be a much better place."

    Hey rizzo, if everyone like @hardright left the country there'd be no one to pay taxes and your government checks would bounce. The the 40% would starve to death. You parasites need the tax paying host from which to suck blood or you'll parish.

    February 14, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  3. Spence

    It makes no difference, The Great King and Leader Barack Hussain Obama will be reelected. If you want to fight for your economic survival and liberty, then make sure as many Democrats as possible lose their seats in the House and Senate and replace them with enough Republicans to make Obama Veto Mute.

    February 14, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  4. Larry in Houston

    "income gaps" ?? LOL I'd say so – I know if I made 250 K – I would BEG the Government to Tax Me !! I cannot imagine EVER making that much money, to be perfectly honest. As a matter of fact, I would Beg them to Tax me, IF I made 100 K – I would Gladly pay My Fair Share !!

    February 14, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  5. Moderate

    What many have said was a blunder by the adminstration regarding religious instiutions and contraception may have actually been a calculated risk that may pay off. Santorum seemed to have gain some steam with his comments about the plan and compromise. Since Romney has shown that he will say anything he thinks will win support, it would not be surprising if he now comes out with something ridiclous like "all contraception should be banned" to try and placate social conservatives. Assuming he does win the nomination, those types of comments will kill him in a general election, especially among the independents who tend to be socially liberal.

    February 14, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  6. Jay

    Question: With so many Americans dropping their land line altogether and just using a cell phone, how does this factor into the polling equation? I am a republican leaning independent but have no land line. There must be others and I am guessing more of that group would be younger-ish and lean towards Mitt Romney.

    February 14, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  7. longtooth

    Romney will swallow Santorum at the convention. I mean... Oh well. Never mind.

    February 14, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  8. Alan

    Santorum would be the end of division of church and state as we know it. This guy is a religious zealot! He seems like a good man, but the last thing any president should EVER do is make doctrine of their personal beliefs.

    February 14, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
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  10. Texas Annie

    I'm am absolutely stunned that any woman would support Rick Santorum. Welcome back to the 1870's ladies– hope you enjoy being uneducated, barefoot, & pregnant– and ordered around by your "superior" husband– because that's exactly how Santorum sees you, as a second class citizen who just answers to the husband's bidding.

    February 14, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. Herby Sagues

    If Santorum wins, Republicans will lose 100% of the moderate vote, which means they will loose the general election.
    If Romney wins, they have a small chance, but the far right won't vote for him given his positions, his record and the fact that he's a Mormon.
    In either case, Obama has to really mess up not to win the election.
    Republicans have to become better at nominating candidates. It is amazing that they cannot find a candidate that's younger than 75, not a lunatic, doesn't think the Earth was created for thousand years ago, beleives in reason, does not denigrate minorities, has a decent working past and has never cheated, been caucht committing a crime or been in bed with large financial interests. Or even someone that has just one of those.
    Well, they had Huntsman, but he dropped out when he saw a moderate could never win the nomination. Too bad.

    February 14, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  12. Robert

    The REALLY scary part is that ANYONE would vote for either of these shysters!

    February 14, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  13. RomneyUS2012

    Romney is crushing both Gingrich and Santorum on the worldwide poll and is very close to 1st place. Google "the world vote" and the first listing shows how all the nations of the world look at each candidate and once again Gingrich and Santorum doesn't have a chance compared to Romney.

    Romney 2012, taking the country back for America!

    February 14, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  14. shybou69

    I prefer Santorum, but think he's unelectable. His views about the causes for our decline and their roots in liberal ideology are spot on. But the lib media will tear him to shreds. Being politically incorrect is a license for 24/7 ridicule by everyone from the ACLU to Letterman. Romney is electable. So I'm going with him. I think it's a matter of time before the lib agenda gets rolled back though. A national tragedy or a vastly worsened eonomy will wake the people up.

    February 14, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  15. Shawn Irwin

    The ones that would vote for Insanitorum (Bush clone) would not vote for Romney in the general election, and the ones that would vote for Romney would not vote for Insanitorum in the general election, so it gaurantees another 4 years for Obama. The hatched-again voters are so bird-brained that what they do does not matter, they are just a bunch of sheep who vote based on what they *think* the candidate is, when anyone with half a brain knows that politicians lie more than anyone else on this earth, so how could they possible be hatched again? Oh, wait, I see, that's the liar's calling card.

    February 14, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  16. Casan

    The trend of Obama vs Mitt is starting to slowly unzip, and this is even before people know who Mitt really is?

    How long can he avoid interviews like Palin, the few he did shows how clueless this guy is. I am Mitt, I make nearly $60000 a day, "I don't care about the poor...." BUT WAIT, THAT IS OUT OF CONTEXT!

    Somethings cannot be taken out or be put in context, like saying: "I like to rape....blah blah blah".... It doesn't matter what follows, it still looks bad!

    How did you make your money Mitt? We put capital in struggling companies, borrow money on their remaining assets, use that money to pay ourselves, or even better, borrow money on their assets, use that money to buy their stocks, lay off employees, report good numbers since we are not paying employees, have couple of our buddies at Wall Street hype and point out the good trends/profits.....then dumb the stocks, run with the loot and leave the employees, the company and investors crying.. We are good at this SCAM, and that is why I want to become your president.

    Mitt – Are you liberal or a Conservative? Honestly, I don't know the difference, looking at my track record, it is clear that I will do and say anything as long as it keeps me in a position of power. So America, what do you want to hear?!!!!

    PLEASE...TELL ME SO I CAN SAY IT WITH A SMILE, JUST MAKE ME A PRESIDENT PLEASEEEEEEEEEEE DON'T MAKE ME CRY....BAABAAAAAAAAAA

    February 14, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  17. Progressive

    Romney and Santorum are Gods gift to Democrats. When the media starts looking into Santorums background they will find he never met a lobbist he didn't like. Current independent polls have Romney behind Obama by 9 points and Santorum by 10 points. Of course Fox News Polls have them both ahead of Obama by a large margin. Facts are a liberal median trick.

    February 14, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  18. Dr. Fricke

    This is unsettling for Santorum. He will not win the general if he can't win the female vote. Women don't like Santorum because they sense he prefers they remain in a "Pleasantville" mold. This may be unfair – but it is the perception. Romney may not be the golden-boy, but he has a chance to win it all. I agree more with Santorum, but he does have a "smarminess" about him.

    February 14, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  19. Casan

    The trend of Obama vs Mitt is starting to slowly unzip, and this is even before people know who Mitt really is?

    How long can he avoid interviews like Palin, the few he did shows how clueless this guy is. I am Mitt, I make nearly $60000 a day, "I don't care about the poor...." BUT WAIT, THAT IS OUT OF CONTEXT!

    Somethings cannot be taken out or be put in context, like saying: "I like to rapeee....blah blah blah".... It doesn't matter what follows, it still looks bad!

    How did you make your money Mitt? We put capital in struggling companies, borrow money on their remaining assets, use that money to pay ourselves, or even better, borrow money on their assets, use that money to buy their stocks, lay off employees, report good numbers since we are not paying employees, have couple of our buddies at Wall Street hype and point out the good trends/profits.....then dumb the stocks, run with the loot and leave the employees, the company and investors crying.. We are good at this SCAM, and that is why I want to become your president.

    Mitt – Are you liberal or a Conservative? Honestly, I don't know the difference, looking at my track record, it is clear that I will do and say anything as long as it keeps me in a position of power. So America, what do you want to hear?!!!!

    PLEASE...TELL ME SO I CAN SAY IT WITH A SMILE, JUST MAKE ME A PRESIDENT PLEASEEEEEEEEEEE DON'T MAKE ME CRY....BAABAAAAAAAAAA

    February 14, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  20. xman51

    Mark. Thats the problem none of you are true Christians. Look at your hate and indifference for people who are not like you or believe in what you do. I feel sorry for people like you because if you truly believe in God then you will be the ones judged by him the hardest because you take his word and you twist it or you try to ram your beliefs down everyones throat and always judging others. So it makes me sick when people like you(so called Christians) use words like he is a true Christian. You make others like me that believe in God look bad. I am so glad that most Christians are not like you and I know will set up and will be heard through their vote come November.

    February 14, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  21. cark

    Ron Paul or none at all. The rest are big government Bush/Obama Republicans.

    February 14, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  22. Progressive

    Williard Romney is a Grey Poupon conservative. Thats what you call a "severe conservative". Willard's blue collar credentials were earned slaving on a hot golf course at his Country Club. He has so much of the "common man" touch, he washes his own laundry on the campaign trail. If you believe that I have some swamp land in South Florida I would like to sell you.

    February 14, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  23. DoNotWorry

    Lord have mercy, do women think Rmoney thinks any better for women than Sanitarium? Rmoney is a Mormon, and although they do not advocate beating their wives, they do advocate the little woman should keep her place at home and not worry her little head about manly matters like working, handling the money, being in charge of anything, blah blah blah... even their Women's Relief Society leaders must report to a man for guidance.

    February 14, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  24. Are You Kidding?

    Obama gets reelected.......why the Replacan'ts can't field a winner. Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are both too extreme for the majority of the a middle of the road American people. The Tea Party and the conservitives don't get it. If the republican's want to win they need some one who isn't in the race..to step forward. Other wise it's four more years of Obama's policies.

    February 14, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  25. basketcase

    Women don't like Santorum? I'm shocked, he seems like such a supporter of women's rights. Oh wait...

    February 14, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
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