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. Andrew

    Ron Pawl
    Spoken like a true GED hopeful:

    Only three kinds support Ron Paul
    -Stoners
    -Racists
    -Anti Goverment conspiracy freaks

    March 27, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. cashmeremafia

    As long they have millionaire, oh excuse me, Billionaire backers, what's the incentive to drop out?

    March 27, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  3. Kristopher

    @wonfish...they probably did but didn't post the results because they were too low.

    "Seven in ten think he is almost certain or very likely to win."

    Stop being so paranoid.

    March 27, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  4. BJ

    Oh CNN....you are so funny! "Take Paul out of the picture and reallocate his supporters to their second choice and Romney's lead grows to 19 points over Santorum." CNN...you assume too much. It is more likely that 19 points goes to OBAMA than to Romney. Paul supporters have more in common with Obama than they do with fake conservatives like Romeny and Santorum.

    March 27, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  5. Attila, The Hun

    Two old men who need to exit the stage.

    March 27, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  6. RegisteredRepub

    3 Kinda people support Ron Paul.

    Individuals
    American Soldiers
    Working Class People

    Get it right!

    As for the Stessan joke, I doubt you're old enough to remember, and just so you know, Stessan has more in common with Romney than Paul.

    Romney belongs to Wall Street
    Newt belongs to Mortgage Companies
    Santorum belongs to Insurance Companies
    Paul belongs to Americans!

    March 27, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  7. Joe

    Love how many idiots are here,nice slap to Ron Paul but he won't drop out. You'll see at the convention.
    RON PAUL 2012

    March 27, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  8. No 1 but RP

    Mr Hooland, as I told the RNC several times, Ron Paul or nobody. Romney is no different than Boobama, Santorum will bring back the Inquisition and is not a conservative despite what he says, and Gingrich gets his social skills from Mein Kaumpf.

    March 27, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  9. John from Boston

    @Ron Pawl-> actually you missed a few types of people who support Ron Paul.
    -People who believe in Liberty
    – people who believe in sound money
    – people with 3 digit IQ's.
    I could go on......

    March 27, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  10. Adam

    Paul is too smart and logical for the GOP and Gingrich just plain sucks.

    March 27, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. Ron Pawl

    Who advocates for going to the Gold standard?
    Who advocates for getting rid of many enviromental regulations?
    Who has 85% of his millions in Stock Holdings in Gold and silver mines?

    Ron Paul
    Google it

    March 27, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  12. BVN

    This article is FAKE, and I can prove it: No Republican would give CNN the time of day let alone 30 minutes of their time for yet another garbage poll.

    March 27, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  13. Adam

    Paul is too smart and logical for the GOP and Gingrich is just plain bad.

    March 27, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  14. Thom

    Ron Paul won't leave ...He is staying as long as his supporters want him to and that's all the way to the Convention. Ron Paul is the only candidate with enthusiastic and real supporters who believe in him and his message of Liberty. They will stick to him like glue which is why the republicans should start listening to his message more closely because they need Ron Paul and his Supporters to beat Obama. They (RP supporters) will not vote for anyone else...thats a given. They will write him in if that is what it takes. Once a Ron Paul supporter, always a Ron Paul supporter... there is no looking back or change.

    March 27, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  15. Watcho

    Women supporting Santorum?
    I doubt very much that the majority of Female republican voters support Santorum, very much.
    Women are smarter than that. Catholics are smarter than that. We see that Santorum is mostly supported by fundamentalist, often Southern, voters, male and female. On a national level, I am sure, women will not allow a guy to run women's lives with his medieval ideas of 'family policies'. Mormon women are smarter than that too.

    Now that the Newt is about to leave the race, it's Ricky Weasel trying to slip into that spot of self delusion. How fun.

    March 27, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  16. denim

    Gingrich, Romney, and Santorum (spit) should drop out. Paul is the only one I'd actually vote for. Otherwise, it's a landslide for Obama in November.

    March 27, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  17. Sean

    Keep laughing at Ron Paul. His followers know this election is a beginning. We are not going anywhere, not supporting any other candidate, not disappearing into the ether after this election, not going quietly into the night. In the next 4-8 years, you will no longer recognize the GOP, because we are going to take it over.

    Meanwhile... Obama, Mitt, Santorum = more of the same = big spending + death to civil liberties + bank bailouts.

    March 27, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  18. Adam

    Paul is too smart and logical for the GOP and Gingrich is just horrible

    March 27, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  19. Attila, The Hun

    Two old men who need to stay until the end.

    March 27, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  20. Adam

    Ron Paul is just too rational for the GOP, Newt is just L A M E

    March 27, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  21. Bruce

    Two notes: First, I have not seen any negative posts on Paul that had any substance. "Old" means nothing. "Crazy?" Give one example. I am amazed at the half witted comments that merely call him names. You got something on Paul? Then tell me about it. I haven't taken name-calling seriously since I graduated from the playground. Some people evidently never graduated.

    As far as polls. How were they taken? Instead of saying "polls" today, the media should say, "Out of 1000 people with active land lines who don't look at caller ID..." I use my wireless phone most of the time, and when I see on my caller ID that it is from an area code I don't know, or if it says something like "Survey" whatever, I don't even bother.

    Polls mainly tell us what one kind of people think: those who don't have cell phones, or answer any call, including from Nigerian princes who need to make a bank deposit.

    Oh, and one more thing. Romney and Santorum are both crazy if they think that I would switch from Ron Paul to one of them. Ain't gonna happen.

    March 27, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  22. Donkey Talk

    I think the GOP candidate should be selected by an open vote on the CNN website tonite. Vote early, vote often.

    I've seen enough of this clown show. Game over.

    Four more years!

    March 27, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  23. Adam

    You need to lower your IQ and sanity in order to maintain your republican bid, get with the program guys.

    March 27, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  24. gwenkraft

    Stay in the race, Ron Paul.

    March 27, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  25. a

    as soon as the cauces states have their conventions, pauls delegates will start rolling in. ingoring facts is bliss.

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