CNN Poll: Majority in GOP say Gingrich and Paul should end bids
March 27th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
3 years ago

CNN Poll: Majority in GOP say Gingrich and Paul should end bids

Washington (CNN) - As the GOP presidential primary and caucus calendar nears its fourth month, a new survey indicates most Republicans would like to see Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul drop their bids for the nomination.

And a majority of Republicans questioned in a CNN/ORC International poll say their party's presidential nomination should be determined by the primaries and caucuses rather than at the GOP convention in Tampa, Florida in late August. But according to the survey, a majority of Republicans don't want Rick Santorum to end his campaign for the nomination.

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Six out of ten Republicans say that Gingrich should drop out of the race, with 39% saying that the former House speaker should not end his bid. And 61% say Paul should drop out, with 36% saying that the longtime congressman from Texas should continue to campaign for the White House.

Thirty-nine percent of Republicans say Santorum should end his bid, with nearly six in ten saying the former senator from Pennsylvania should not drop out of the race.

"Republican women are particularly supportive of Santorum continuing his bid for the White House," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "More than two-thirds of GOP the women interviewed said that they wanted Santorum to stay in the race, compared to only 51 percent of men."

The same question was also asked of GOP front-runner Mitt Romney, with more than three-quarters saying the former Massachusetts governor should continue his campaign.

According to the poll, which was released Tuesday, 36% of Republicans support Romney for the nomination and 26% back Santorum. It was a different story in February, when the two men were effectively tied in CNN's last national survey, with Santorum at 34% and Romney at 32%. In the new poll, Paul wins support from 17%, with Gingrich at 15%.

"Republicans recognize that Romney is the odds-on favorite to become the party's nominee. Seven in ten think he is almost certain or very likely to win. That perception may explain his rising support from the GOP rank and file," adds Holland.

The poll seems to dispel the notion that if Gingrich dropped out of the race, his supporters would mostly flock to Santorum, considered the other major conservative candidate in the race. A majority of Gingrich supporters questioned say that Romney rather than Santorum is their second choice.

"If you recalculate the GOP horse race using the Gingrich voters' second choice, Romney's lead over Santorum grows to fifteen percentage points, 45% for Romney and 30% for Santorum, compared to the ten-point margin Romney currently has in the four-man field," says Holland.

"Take Paul out of the picture and reallocate his supporters to their second choice and Romney's lead grows to 19 points over Santorum."

While Romney is the choice of more Republicans and has a commanding lead in delegates, the poll indicates his supporters are still lukewarm about him. A majority of Santorum voters say that they strongly support their candidate. But six in ten Romney voters say they don't strongly support Romney. And while Republicans view Romney as a strong leader who can defeat Obama in November and get the economy moving again, Santorum scores higher than Romney on likeability, honesty, compassion, values, and his stands on the issues.
According to CNN's latest delegate estimate, Romney has secured 569 delegates, and needs 575 more to reach the 1,144 needed to clinch the GOP nomination. That equals 47% of the remaining 1,213 delegates up for grabs. The odds get a bit higher for Santorum: According to the CNN estimate, he has 262 delegates, and would need to grab 882 delegates, or 73% of those remaining.

Gingrich has 136 delegates, meaning he would need to win 1,008, or 83% of the remaining delegates, to clinch the nomination. And Paul has 71 delegates according to the CNN estimate, meaning he would need to secure 1,073 delegates, or 88% of those still up for grabs, to become the Republican nominee.

The primary and caucus calendar comes a close in late June, and if no candidate has clinched the nomination, there's a chance it would come down to a contested convention in Tampa.

A majority of those questioned, 53%, say they the GOP nominee should be determined during the primaries, with 43% saying the nominee should be picked at the convention.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International Saturday and Sunday, with 1,014 adults nationwide, including 463 Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP, questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error for questions on the GOP nomination is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

– Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN

Also see:

Palin congratulates Santorum over 'bulls-' remark

Gingrich campaign charges $50 for photos

Paul: Don't count me out

Romney not worried about Sanoturm, labels Russia No. 1 'foe'


Filed under: 2012 • CNN poll • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Rick Santorum • Ron Paul
soundoff (212 Responses)
  1. Sean

    "Take Paul out of the picture and reallocate his supporters to their second choice and Romney's lead grows to 19 points over Santorum."

    WRONG. Ron Paul's supporters will never support Romney or Santorum. We will write Paul in on the ballot. We do not play the typical party games like the rest of you.

    March 27, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  2. joe smith

    once again, the media has done a masterful job..george soros must be feeling very smug about now..this country once stood for something, now if falls for everything, and the press knows it, thus able to spin it's devisive web..as it is trying here..

    March 27, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  3. Art

    I would like to see Ron Paul win but 4 more years of the same and I'm going to have to vote for it. Darn.

    March 27, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    America isn't going to stop supporting the most honest politician currently in office. Ron Paul is the only one out of the four presidential candidates that draws 4,000 people + crowds of young, excited, astonishingly supportive voters who are dedicated and loyal to him. And for CNN to post a biased and ineffectual article saying that Paul should drop out of the race is sickly disturbing. Heck, Santorum, Romney, and Gingrich should all just drop out simultaneously so Ron Paul can take office. I mean, we don't more big government, federal spending, and war mongering to persist (their presidency would make that happen). Time to wake up and take responsibility for yourselves. Ron Paul 2012.

    March 27, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  5. bspurloc

    they should stay in the race so the GOP keeps flaunting what is wrong with the gop

    March 27, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  6. Just Git-R-Done

    These guys can only stay relevant if they drop out and endorse one of the leading candidates. They just aren't ready to put their chips down until one of them is the definitive winner. They'll endorse either, but they want to hold out for the sure winner. Unfortunately, they don't want to contribute to one or the other becoming the nominee.

    March 27, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  7. SmarterNThat

    And why would Republicans want Santorum to stay in the race? So they can give the election to Obama, that's why.

    They too think anybody is better than Romney, even the hated Obama.

    Terrific sense of party loyalty.

    March 27, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. Joe Human

    This is more horse-crap from "Spin-NN." CNN has been notoriously shaping the news to their liking. Only problem is, it's not working.

    "WOMEN? Liking no-birth-control, spy-in-your-bedroom Santorum?!" Sure thin SpinNN. That fool is not going reach independent females, that effin' Nazi.

    Romney is getting "assists" from Paul as it is. Newt is a Joke and there are people who downright HATE Santorum.

    Romney is a fraud, a fake and a flip-flopper.

    Ron Paul may be considered a cook, but no one hates him for it, and the majority of vets are squarely behind him. They're tired of dying and getting maimed for Halliburton, GE and Raytheon.

    And Obama has things far from sewn up. He's up to his eyeballs in scandal. The only way Obama can guarantee himself a win is whip out all of his new dictatorial powers and cancel the 2012 elections and pronounce himself Psychopath of the World.

    March 27, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  9. jim

    Here is a crazy thought. Let everyone have a vote and then decide.

    March 27, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  10. Adam

    Its a shame that the vast majority of armed forces personal are backing Paul yet the GOP wants him to end his bid and the media gives him barely any coverage.

    March 27, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  11. a

    ron pauls highest contributers are the us military. the other 3's are goldman sacs. any questions?

    March 27, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  12. gwenkraft

    Stay in the race, Ron Paul. The conversation is educational. The others are pawns of the global corporatocracy whether they be Republican or Democrat. Please keep the issues in the forefront. No wonder the youth are as attracted to you as many of us independent voters... The youth see "The Hunger Games" as the future to avoid.

    March 27, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
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