CNN Poll: Majority in GOP say Gingrich and Paul should end bids
March 27th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
2 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. VAVeteran

    ...and you would think that someone who considers themself "smart" eno the messageugh to be President could take the hint or get the message that the nation doesn't want them. I mean,...even their own party doesn't, but they keep burning donated money instead of returning it and hanging around like a punchie prise fighter too loopy to grasp the situation is lost. Worse? they keep returning to the ring for more.. God save us all*

    March 27, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  2. Debby

    Why don't they throw Santorum in that mix to.

    March 27, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  3. kramses86k

    In other words... if the GOP front runner were chosen based on the GOP convention in Florida. Ron Paul, and Ginrich as well, would have a better chance at the White House!!!! Go Ron Paul!! Don't drop out!!! Delegates are not binded!!

    March 27, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. RegisteredRepublican

    interesting, I don't recall being asked. If I were asked, I'd say this. No Ron Paul shouldn't drop out, he should continue his fight all the way to the convention, I'd also call in to question how they came up with their math considering none of these delegates have been allocated yet. This is clearly CNN trying to mislead people in to voting for 'their' candidate. And of course CNN wants the caucases and primaries to choose the nominee, the media has influence over those results. BOYCOTT CNN!!! The true sons of liberty are taking the conservative party back and their isn't anything CNN can do about it.

    March 27, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  5. Dave

    I don't get it Romney is Obama and is there a sane person in the world that would actually vote for Santorum?

    March 27, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. Lou50

    you think!

    March 27, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  7. marinedad05

    Now, how did Paul have to pay Gingrich for his photo to be put up next to Newt?

    March 27, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  8. Ya Think

    For Paul and Gingrich they no longer have supporters. They are now Pallbearers. Folks wake up! These candidates have been dead for sometime. They are not coming back to life so move on with reality.

    March 27, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  9. george of the jungle

    maybe the repos should all drop out. To late for a do over. Obama 2012 lets not go back to the 1950's

    March 27, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  10. VAVeteran

    ha! My last entry is reason to re- read what you type and not believe it is correct. Excuse me all ha* duh~

    March 27, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  11. NamePat

    Personally, I'd like all four of these candidates to drop out. They disgust me with their never-ending bickering, bad-mouthing and finger pointing. None of them appear to have more than a single-digit IQ..and I'M a registered Republican!!! So sad...

    March 27, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. smknbluebear

    whoever wins the repub nomination, this fall will present voters with two options: poop-on-a-stick or poop-on-a-rope.

    March 27, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. BREAKING NEWS!!!

    An outhouse fell over in North Dakota.

    March 27, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. This Guy

    It's time for the GOP to focus onthe Gen Election.

    March 27, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. Roger

    LOL Funny that the Ron Paul fanboys still think he has a chance. Thank god by 2016 he is too old. I can't stand that stumbling old fool.

    March 27, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. sharpndpensel

    Of course the REPUBLICAN PARTY wants Paul to drop out. But the MILLIONS of Paul supporters don't.

    Stunts like the one they pulled in Maine to rip him off from wining the popular vote won't work. The reason they want Paul out is because they know he's won delegates and could end up with the nomination at the convention.

    Too bad, GOP. Maybe if you weren't comprised of a bunch of wimpy moderates like Romney, you'd have the support of REAL conservatives.

    March 27, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  17. JoeP

    Why should any of them drop out? They all have points of view that deserve to be expressed, and any one of them might come up with an idea that "gains traction" going into the general election. Let them all be heard for as long as possible.

    March 27, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  18. Michael DOe

    I am among the majority. Newt Gingrich should end his bid and endorse Romney or Santorum (Romney is far more likely to be the nominee) and Ron Paul should suspend all campaign activity and speak at the convention but nothing else the way Pat Buchanan did in 1996. It was this exact time of year (1st week in April) that the 1996 primaries came to an end with Bob Dole as the nominee. After that election everyone lost. Bob Dole lost the election, Clinton was impeached but able to remain in office through a senate acquittal in his 2nd term, and (Phil Gramm, Steve Forbes, Lamar Alexander, Richard Lugar, Alan Keyes, and Bob Dornan all lost in the primaries) as well as the pre-primary candidates like Pete Wilson and Arlen Spector. This time around All the primary candidates lose, Mitt Romney will lose in November, and President Obama will have a terrible 2nd term similar to George W. Bush just in different ways. So everyone running for president now will be a loser in 5 years unless Rick Santorum manages to run again in 2016 and get elected in which case he will have won on this day in 2017.

    March 27, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  19. nexxues

    wonfish said:
    " How come poll didn't ask if Romney should pull out. Only 36% of the Republicans suppory hime. A majority if asked might say he should pull out. I think it is becoming clear that Romney is the pick of the corporate media."

    CNN said: " 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."

    Some people should get a second opinion before clicking the "post" button.

    March 27, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  20. broderick

    Please go away please go away please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The both of u!!!!

    March 27, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  21. The-Least-Unelectable

    "Six in ten Romney voters say they don't strongly support Romney."

    "Santorum scores higher than Romney on likeability, honesty, compassion, values, and his stands on the issues."

    ROFLOL

    March 27, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  22. Ron Paul or Obama?...

    make your choice republicans...

    March 27, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  23. VAVeteran

    Candidates that don't get the message they are not wanted but hang around month after month like a punchie prize fighter is more than pitiful. That the press gives them equal weight when its clear they have no chance is fair enough, but what a waste of OUR time~

    March 27, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  24. Randy

    Ron Paul should drop out he isn't going anywhere he should just retire all together and go fishing some where, Newt should drop out he isn't going to win nothing, his silly pride is keeping him going he is a sore loser and he hate to have to bow out because of his hate of Romney so he is just in it because of his pride, he is nothing but a big cry baby now.

    March 27, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  25. LouAZ

    The problem for this long drawn out Circular Firing Squad the Repub/TPers are running is that . . . the first liar doesn't stand a chance !

    March 27, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
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