CNN Poll: Catholic support for Romney crucial in Ohio
March 5th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
3 years ago

CNN Poll: Catholic support for Romney crucial in Ohio

(CNN) - Strong support by Catholic voters in Ohio appears to be one reason why Mitt Romney is now deadlocked with Rick Santorum, according to a new survey released one day before the state holds its Super Tuesday Republican presidential primary.

A CNN/ORC International poll released Monday indicates that it's a dead heat between Romney and Santorum, with both the former Massachusetts governor and the former senator from Pennsylvania each grabbing 32% of likely GOP primary voters in Ohio. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is at 14%, with Rep. Ron Paul of Texas at 11%.

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"The surprise is that the Catholic candidate, Santorum, is losing the Catholic vote," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Among Ohio Catholics who are likely to vote on Super Tuesday, 39% back Romney compared to 33% who support Santorum. Santorum has an advantage among Protestants by a 35%-to-29% margin."

Romney's advantage among Catholics is within the sampling error. Last week exit polls in neighboring Michigan indicated Romney had an advantage with Catholic voters in that state as well. Both Michigan and Ohio have sizeable Catholic populations.

The CNN/ORC survey is the fifth released over the past day and a half to indicate that it's all tied up in Ohio. Surveys released a week ago suggested that Santorum led Romney, but they were conducted before Romney's large victory last Tuesday in Arizona and his edging out of Santorum to win his native Michigan.

"Ohio is yet another state in which Republican primary voters are split ideologically," says Holland. Romney has an 18-point advantage among moderates, while Santorum is up by eight among conservatives."

Sixty-three delegates are up for grabs Tuesday in Ohio, one of 10 states to hold contests on Super Tuesday. Although more delegates are at stake in Georgia, Ohio is arguably the most crucial of the states holding a Super Tuesday contest because of its status as a major general election battleground, and both Romney and Santorum have campaigned hard to take the state.

But Georgia is crucial for Gingrich, who's said repeatedly over the past week that he needs to win the state. Gingrich represented Georgia's sixth congressional district for two decades.

The poll indicates Gingrich is enjoying home field advantage, with a 23 point lead over Romney in the state. Gingrich is at 47% among likely GOP primary voters, with Romney at 24%, Santorum at 15% and Paul at 9%. Other recent surveys in Georgia also indicated Gingrich with a double digit lead.

Two-thirds of people questioned in Georgia said they were definitely backing the candidate they are currently supporting, with three in ten saying they may change their minds, and 5% unsure or not supporting a candidate.

In Ohio, 53% said they were committed to the candidate they are currently backing, with 37% saying they could change their minds, with one in ten either unsure or not backing a candidate.

Besides being a crucial primary state, Ohio is also an extremely important battleground state in the general election. According to the poll, 49% of Ohio registered voters would back President Barack Obama in November, with 45% supporting an unnamed Republican nominee.

In Georgia, which has been a reliable Republican state in presidential contests, the poll indicates Obama deadlocked at 48% against the eventual GOP nominee.

The CNN poll in Ohio was conducted by ORC International, with 1,825 registered voters, including 546 registered voters likely to cast ballots in the Ohio GOP primary, questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error for registered voters is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, with a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points for questions only of likely Republican primary voters.

The CNN poll in Georgia was conducted by ORC International, with 1,775 registered voters, including 527 registered voters likely to cast ballots in the Georgia GOP primary, questioned by telephone.

The survey's sampling error for registered voters is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, with a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points for questions only of likely Republican primary voters.

Also see:

Poll: All tied up in Tennessee

Romney gets backing from key Republicans

Barbara Bush robo calls for Romney

Romney, Santorum tied in Ohio


Filed under: 2012 • CNN poll • Georgia • Ohio
soundoff (125 Responses)
  1. Jariv

    Go Mr. Romney. America needs you even as some do not think so.

    Romney 2012 !

    March 5, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  2. Sista in DC

    Are Catholics suppose to be the majority in this country or something? I'm confused. Why should they even matter?

    March 5, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Sista in DC asked.

    Are Catholics suppose to be the majority in this country or something? I'm confused. Why should they even matter?
    -------------–
    Good questions. 50 years ago, Republicans abhorred all Catholics.

    March 5, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  4. bczu

    America needs Romney like New Jersey needed Corzine....

    March 5, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  5. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Sista in DC - Are Catholics suppose to be the majority in this country or something? I'm confused. Why should they even matter
    ============================================================================================
    Because there are 57 MILLION of them and they know how to vote??? This is something Obama will learn the hard way.

    March 5, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. Daniel

    The most interesting thing we are seeing out of Ohio is how Romney has been able to raise his poll numbers. He has gained 10% by getting voters that left Gingrich. The common assumption is that if Gingrich left the race nearly all of his voters would switch to Santorum and allow him to compete with Romney. The number are sowing now that if Gingrich dropped out there are just as many if not more voters that would back Romney.

    March 5, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. cali girl

    Religion speaks, but non of these men have it all in their pocket.

    March 5, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  8. Daniel

    Catholics are generally more moderate than Santorum. They are also less likely to campaign over the pulpit then evangelicals. Once you add all that up Romney does well among Catholics.

    March 5, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  9. Sirned

    Just wondering when Republicans plan to attack woman's voting rights? They are already voting on voter suppression laws in many red states even though in 10 years less than 1% was even a problem and in their Republican primaries they aren't using them...To think the only fraud found was with the elected officials counting the vote...

    March 5, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  10. Independent

    Republicans are just using CONSERVATISM to get elected.

    You are a stooge if you thing they are real conservatives. THEY (Romney, Santorum) are total hypocrites.

    Dont fall for those people you use religion to get votes. This is why there is separation of state and religion.

    Get down to issues.

    March 5, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  11. T'sah from Virginia

    ANY support for Romney is "crucial."

    Obama 2012!!

    March 5, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. 2/8

    .....who cares, things won't change.

    March 5, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  13. BPD

    There are 77.7 million Catholics in the United States. The United States has the 3rd largest Catholic population in the world.... The Catholic vote is crucial.

    March 5, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. Jake

    Let's stop with the nonsense, there are more Catholics practicing birth control with contraceptives than Catholics that follow the nonsense from the Vatican.

    March 5, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. krishna

    At this America needs no body but President Obama. You guys bring catholic into politics!!! you are way behind of time.

    March 5, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. jason

    Why would you even vote for Romney, you can't even know what he's for because he's the biggest flip flopping politic ever.

    March 5, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  17. DC Johnny

    Here's a thought for CNN and the other liberal audiences out there – not all groups vote as one giant conscience army like the most liberal groups do. Hippies and black Americans may vote as they're told to based on social rhetoric and pressures exceeding any expectation of what will actually come of their choice, but most other groups don't just fall in line as they're supposed to.

    It shouldn't be considered burning hot news that people who identify themselves as Catholic may just prefer one moderate candidate over another more conservative one. There are countless other issues and stances to be considered.

    It's time we stop oversimplifying ourselves as members of a group and start cherishing our individualism.

    March 5, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  18. Exposo

    It is shameful to think that my fellow RCs would favour a cult memver over a fellow Catholic like Santorum.
    They should be splattered with holy water.

    March 5, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. K3Citizen

    How ironic, Mitt leads the Catholic vote and Rick leads the Mormon vote.

    March 5, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. Tim

    "The surprise is that the Catholic candidate, Santorum, is losing the Catholic vote," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

    How is this a surprise? Santorum is far to the right of most U.S. Catholics. His views are more in line with Fundamentlists/Evangelicals than Catholics.

    March 5, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    "Go away Mr. Romney. America doesn't need you even as some still think so."

    There, FIFY, Mr. Valledares.

    March 5, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  22. Descarado

    Anyone BUT Obama!

    March 5, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  23. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Jake - Let's stop with the nonsense, there are more Catholics practicing birth control with contraceptives than Catholics that follow the nonsense from the Vatican.
    ==========================================================================================
    Totally irrelevant. It still doesn't mean they want the federal government imposing itself on their church. Obamacare today, what will it be tomorrow? And will it be YOUR religion being targetted?

    March 5, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  24. Howdydo

    "...39% back Romney compared to 33% who support Santorum. Santorum has an advantage among Protestants by a 35%-to-29% margin... Romney's advantage among Catholics is within the sampling error."

    Wait a 6% lead is within the sampling error? Am I reading that right? So the sampling error in the poll was at least +/- 6%? How can you even report on a poll that inaccurate when the race is so close?

    March 5, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  25. The Real Tom Paine

    Do all 57 million Catholics vote in a bloc? Get a clue. By the way, some of them might be illegal: can we smuggle them some fake IDs, Truth? If you off them jobs as gardeners and day laborers, they might even vote GOP!

    March 5, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
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