CNN Poll: Gender and income gaps in GOP nomination battle
February 14th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
3 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)

Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

"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. steven harnack

    So the tea party folks support Santo, who defends pork barrel politics and was handed a monumental defeat by the voters in PA. despite grabbing all of the money that he could for them? Is Obama derangement really their one and only core principle?

    February 14, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  2. Illeagle-j1

    I hope that they decide to allow the chubby fellow with the marmoset on his head join in the reindeer games. Look guys, I realize he looks like the uncle that the whole family whispers about, but, allow him to play. There is nothing more off putting than a chubby fellow throwing himself on the ground threatening to let his hair piece attack the other children. So Please Play nice with the chubby dude.

    February 14, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  3. "Trickie" Dickie Cheney

    If it comes down to Santorum vs. Romney, I will vote for Obama this November. And for those of you that are voting in the GOP in 2012 on the basis of religious affiliation, answer this – What religion is the creator, God? All religions to include Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, etc. is nothing more than a farce. Don't believe it? That's okay. I'm quite certain the former Reverend Jim Jones and his People's Temple, David Koresh, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, etc. would all applaud you idiots !!

    February 14, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  4. Bonnie

    I don't like answers (A) to (D). Do we have option (E) = someone else other than the 4 mentioned?

    February 14, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. ak

    Voting fraud. Ron Paul gets 3 times the number of small donations at these guys.

    February 14, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  6. Wow, the stupidity amazes...

    Most every comment I read is based so far out of this world it's amazing. People saying the candidates are re***** etc.. need to go back and read their own post and see how full of crap and stupidity they are. It's insanity.

    February 14, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. The Greedy Old Pigs declared class war on US!

    This is why Karl Rove is desperately trying to rework his Plan to Elect the Next Neocon Robot into his Plan to Elect the Next Neocon Frankenstein. Somehow Karl has to mash Rmoney's presidential look without the elitism, or make Santorum look like a "business leader." Ultimately someone will get bribed to form a ticket with the other. It will be a laughably transparent attempt to con the sheeple, and reeks of McCain/Palin V 2.0. But as has been proven time and time again, the GOBP deathcult ain't that bright.

    February 14, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  8. Silent Majority

    To the folks who are "not sure we'll survive another four years of Obama," I invite you to take a look outside of the little bubble you live in. The first three years of this administration have seen steady growth across the board. The auto industry is back. The stock market is twice as high as it was three years ago. National security is solid. The unemployment rate is dropping (jobs are always the last thing to come back during a recovery). What more do you want? Start paying attention before you end up voting George Bush the Third into office and we end up back where we started.

    February 14, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  9. Former Republican, but never again!

    Romney is a poster child for the 1%. Santorum connects with "regular" Americans. Santorum will surprise everyone and be the nominee.

    February 14, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  10. John

    Obama will win this election. Wait and see!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 14, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  11. rizzo

    @hardright: Good job being a close minded, ignorant bigot with no knowledge of history. Believe me, if everyone like you would leave the country, we'd be a much better place.
    PS: If you're looking for a place with little to no government intervention and no taxes, may I recommend Somalia? They might need you as a rower on one of the pirate ships or something...

    February 14, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  12. Democrat

    Santorum is taking over the Palin-Cain-Bachmann-Perry crowd that Newt thought he had in the bag.

    February 14, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  13. Clayton Kelly

    If Gingrich drops out his support will go to santorum. It's prom night at clown college.

    February 14, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. jdoe

    This article doesn't tell the whole story. When Gingrich drops out, and he surely will, most of his supporters will likely go for Santorum, because he is seen as the more conservative candidate. Romney has the backing of the GOP establishment and a lot of corporate money. If it weren't for that he wouldn't be anywhere near the front.

    February 14, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  15. Jouko

    GOP 2012: The Mormon vs the moron.

    February 14, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  16. doe

    This article doesn't tell the whole story. When Gingrich drops out, and he surely will, most of his supporters will likely go for Santorum, because he is seen as the more conservative candidate. Romney has the backing of the GOP establishment and a lot of corporate money. If it weren't for that he wouldn't be anywhere near the front.

    February 14, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  17. toppgunnery

    Romney was the only candidate with a Chinaman's chance against Obozo....Obozo is a shoe in fer a second term!

    February 14, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  18. westward

    No way am I going to vote for either of these two clowns.

    Obama 2012!

    February 14, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  19. toppgunnery

    Gindrich is about as effective as chickenshyttt right now! When he got Herman Cain's endorsement that was the kiss of death!

    February 14, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  20. Andrew

    If you are a woman and you vote Republican then you are a dumba$$. Same with any minority that votes R, virtually the same as a Jew voting Nazi's into power.

    February 14, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  21. Chris

    Ah, CNN... Helping the WH with their class warfare scheme to get Obama re-elected. I'm sure if you look back at Obama vs. Hillary there was a gender/income gap there, too. Funny you didn't mention it then.

    February 14, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  22. toppgunnery

    In four more years of Oboma, Social Security will end, Medicare will be cut by half due to lack of funds,....the country is finished!

    February 14, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  23. she be crazy

    Wow, another big surprise. Republican redneck guys support Santorum... barefoot and pregnant gets their vote everytime.. and then the Women support Romney because they don't like being barefoot and pregnant, but wouldn't mind being the 5th wife of a rich and powerful man.

    February 14, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  24. LD

    This is hard to say, but I actually feel sorry for the Repugs (esp female Repugs)...How do you vote for either of these guys. Wow, this is truly sad. I still trying to figure out who anyone with more than an eight education would vote for SanCrazy.

    February 14, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  25. stupid

    you think banning gay marriage will help this country? a perfect example how out of touch the religous right is. suckers

    February 14, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11