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. bv

    Plastic-haired rino vs a Conservatives United Moneybomber – C.U.M. hmmmmm guess I'll vote for Ron Paul.

    February 14, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  2. Duane

    First of all Obama has to go no matter what, and if you don't understand why then you are one of the idiots that voted him in. Ron Paul is the best choice because he understands what got us in this mess and has been warning us for years, but nobody wanted to listen. He is ready to put big government on the chopping block and get them out of our life. The problem is... We Have To Many Free Loaders on the Payroll and about 50% of those are government programs and if Obama gets relected, there will soon be nothing left... so the last person shut the lights out when you leave. Do the smart thing and get Obama out before he ruins it for everyone!!

    February 14, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  3. jmart

    Which is a smaller demographic at our current day and age? White-collar women or blue-collar men? WCW, and Romney loses. BCM, and Santorum loses.

    February 14, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. Damian X

    I would never vote for Santorum......what a religious cookoo nut! If he runs I bet Obama wins in a landslide. I get some of what Republicans say they are for ....smaller governemnt etc. but they are not proving themselves that they are for the middle class.

    February 14, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  5. Dumb'Publicans4Santorum

    Seriously, Santorum speaks to the Republican wackos out there...them hillbillies in the hills of South Carolina and them other states with like 2 electoral votes...aka states that don't mean crap.

    Its always Florida and Ohio that seal the deal...if Replublicans were smart they would move to those states to secure the vote, but the hillbillies like them hills too much and even more important they like to be around white people.

    Too many gays in Ohio...too many latinos in Florida. The only way to win is to outbreed the Democrats...and it seems like that just might work since it seems dumb people happen to get pregnant easier and faster...like they couldn't afford to go out on a date so they just knocked boots for fun...oh wait, you mean that means we might have a baby? Well golly!

    February 14, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. Steve

    Jim37-That is the whole point. "He will ban gay marriage" First of all, if he were to have that kind of power under our democracy system, then we would not longer have a democracy. Second, when growing numbers of people (70 percent of under 34 year olds in recent poll) support or have no problem with gay marriage, then Santorum could hardly declare he is a leader of all Americans. Then again, no way he wins, so why waste my breath on bigots like you

    February 14, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  7. toppgunnery

    Any folks 60 and over should seriously consider leaving this country and moving to South America or so, as Social Security will be stolen and given to the ni___ers by the monkey which is undoubtedly going to get a second term!

    February 14, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  8. Kay

    The Duggar couple were on Fox and Friends today professing their support for Santorum. It is typical the couple who embody Forrest Gump's famous saying "Stupid is as stupid does" are supporting the least qualified of the Republican nominees.

    February 14, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. Herby Sagues

    Santorum likes coming from behind.

    February 14, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  10. george of the jungle

    hey jaun you must be lation Not look how you spelled your name you goofey repo you. Obama/Biden 2012 There is no other choice unless you are a looney repo.

    February 14, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  11. Dan

    If Santorum somehow wins the nomination, you might well kiss the presidency goodbye for the republicans
    at least until 2016. Santorum and his ilk are stuck in the 1950's and that will be his downfall.

    February 14, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  12. Jennifer M

    So funny that nobody of substance even bothers to run for the GOP anymore...

    February 14, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  13. Keith in SoJax

    I'm pullin' for Santorum. I'm sure he'll do great things if he becomes President. His most powerful gift would be that he'd help us decide once-and-for-all that we don't need big government, right wing social engineers in charge of this country. Its about time we learn that lesson.

    February 14, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  14. scrambolo

    There is no Respected Republican candidate. Only the Radical Right and their third cousin, 3 steps further right. It is absolutely hilarious, to watch them 'out-far-right' each other. They are not Reagan or Goldwater Conservatives! They are John Birch Society and Ayran Nation Conservatives!

    February 14, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  15. george of the jungle

    Het jaun you must be latino Not look how you spelled your name you crazy repo you. Obama/Biden 2012 There is no other choice.

    February 14, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  16. Lenn

    Is it just me or does Romney remind you of a used car salesman. Tell you what you want to hear just to make a sale! And this Santorum guy, I'm waiting on him to pull a Jimmy Swaggart on national tv!

    February 14, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  17. ken

    obama will try a bush move and use a false flag to start a war b4 election time to get votes, wait and see

    February 14, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  18. TheMovieFan

    Wow. A choice between bad and worse.

    February 14, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  19. tony

    I'm jus' waiting for that there Jeb Bush to pounce . . . . . . in 2016 at the end of Obama's 2nd term

    February 14, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  20. Harrison

    100% of those polled are stark raving lunatics

    February 14, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  21. LD

    @Hardright...ahhh, poor idiot...you see your choices and you want to take your ball in go home....Well the good news is in this country your are free to go..so go ahead leave...you have borders to the south and north or you take the next plane or boat to anywhere your poor sick heart desire...Trust me, us pitiful, socialist, liberals, RHINOs etc or whatever you have in issue with WILL NOT MISS YOU!!!!!!

    February 14, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  22. ken

    if they dont like your comment they wont post it, good job moderator i wouldnt expect anything less from a puppet of the whitehouse

    February 14, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  23. Allah has mercy

    W h0re Mormon businessman vs. Religious crook

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

    May the most disingenuous, phony right wing zealot who is prepared to gut America's last vestiges of dignity and decorum win! Nuclear war in 60 seconds! Idiocracy happening before our very eyes.

    Please, God, four more years of Obama! If for no other reason, to drive the haters mad!!!!!

    Racists, fascists, and neo-cons, oh my!

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

    see ya losers later, im gonna go read some real stories from a legit news source.

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