CNN Poll: Republicans want a winner
June 12th, 2011
09:00 AM ET
11 years ago

CNN Poll: Republicans want a winner

Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) - One day before a CNN/WMUR/New Hampshire Union Leader Republican presidential debate, a new national poll suggests that when it comes to the next election for the White House, Republicans put winning over ideological purity.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Sunday morning, three-quarters of Republicans and GOP leaning independent voters say they want a party nominee who can defeat President Barack Obama in 2012, even if that person doesn't agree with them on every issue. That's up seven percentage points from January.

Read full results (pdf).

Only 24 percent say that they want a candidate who agrees with them on every issue even if that person may not be able to beat Obama next year, down five points from the beginning of the year.

The poll also indicates that the two best-known potential GOP presidential hopefuls - Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani - are also the ones with the highest favorable rating among Republicans.

"That may explain why they feel they can wait before throwing their hats in the ring," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Both the former Alaska governor and the former New York City mayor say they are considering bids for the GOP nomination, but neither to date has taken concrete steps towards a presidential run.

According to the survey, the highest unfavorable ratings among Republicans go to Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who are each disliked by about a quarter of the voters.

More than half of all Republicans don't have an opinion of former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, former Utah Gov. and U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman or businessman and radio talk show host Herman Cain.

"The race may ultimately be shaped by the unknowns in the field, underscoring the importance of CNN's debate on Monday night," adds Holland.

The poll takes a closer look at how Republicans perceive the five best-known candidates or potential candidates for the nomination. Two-thirds say that Romney can beat the president in the general election; a majority also say that about Giuliani, but most Republicans think that Obama would beat Palin, Gingrich or Paul.

Who is qualified to be president? According to the survey, three-quarters say that Giuliani and Romney are qualified; six in 10 say the same about Palin, but she still lags well behind on that score.

Palin's big advantage is the perception that she is not a typical politician. Seven in 10 Republicans feel that way about the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee. Most of those questioned see Romney as a typical politician.

Eight in 10 say that Palin agrees with them on issues that they care about the most. A respectable 64 percent feel the same way about Romney, but that still gives Palin an advantage on issues, and on values as well - nearly eight in 10 say that she represent the values of Republicans like themselves.

The poll also looks at how all Americans view the political parties. Fifty-five percent say they have a favorable view of the Democratic Party, with four in 10 seeing it in an unfavorable light. Forty-nine percent say the have a favorable view of the Republican Party, with 45 saying they see the GOP in an unfavorable light.

As for the two and a half year old tea party movement, 35 percent say they see it in a favorable way, with 47 percent holding an unfavorable view.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted June 3-7, with 1,015 adult Americans, including 433 Republicans and independent voters who lean towards the GOP, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

CNN hosts the first New Hampshire Republican presidential debate on Monday from Manchester at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.

Filed under: 2012 • CNN poll • Polls
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    If you REALLY want to win, you better see if you can get Hillary to change parties...

    Otherwise, get ready to lose and lose big.

    June 12, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  2. TVPreacher

    Republican congress destroys every attempt to save America from the depression the Republicans created, then blame the President for not fixing it. Fortunately, for Republicans, there are enough mentally challenged voters who would help them win, IF Democrats don't vote.

    June 12, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  3. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    Nikos wrote:
    "Even if the repubs were to nominate joe the plumber they'd win.
    It's the economy stupid."

    And even the aged and senile REMEMBER that it was the Republicans who got us here and the NEW Republican Senate who have not made ANY attempt to address jobs.

    Joe the Plumber couldn't even win as a Democrat.

    June 12, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  4. trex

    I understand that Palin will make her decsion known via Paul Revere style, riding backwards in the saddle, screaming to the British that she is running for Queen.

    June 12, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  5. justin colorado

    Ron paul is the only true candidate,why don't people want to stand for the right its no wonder this country is a wreck! Use commen sense people! The truth speaks for itself! If you have never listened to Ron Paul you better do so before you degrade him,

    June 12, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  6. Matt

    If the Republicans choose to put winning before ideals, its a losing ticket...To defeat Obama on core values and to show the American people that there is a huge philosophical difference... The Democrats who are still under the impression that he is doing a good job, unbelievable as that is, want a candidate who doesn't have much of a difference with Obama...We need a pure candidate who can debate on the wrong way the country is headed and present clear and complete new direction with principles...

    June 12, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  7. FM

    I do think it is still foggy in GOP side. How can they say about having the winner while no one fully attracts them as someone to do it!

    June 12, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  8. idesign

    After the New York Times and the Washington Post did a dumpster dive on 24,000 Sarah Palin e-mails, and found nothing but an engaged and honest Governer doing a greet job for her State, it has changed the dynamics of 2012.
    The media tried to take Sarah Palin down and this has just made her stronger. Don't believe me? Just check out the comments at the Times and the Post. I can't wait to see Palin's poll numbers in the next few days.

    Sarah Palin is going to squash Obama like a bug!

    June 12, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  9. Name

    This idea of getting rid of obama will solve all our problems is a joke. It's the system. This idea of voting for anyone is a neocon thing for sure and will make a change on... Nothing

    June 12, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  10. Henry

    How many peeople do you get when you have 100 Tea Partiers, 100 social conservatives, 100 fiscal conservatives, 100 gun rights advocates, 100 Evangelical Christians. You have probably 125 people. These people are all the same. They all vote for the same hateful anti middle class candidates. We should not kid ourselves into believing that these are different groups. They are, for the most part, the same.

    June 12, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  11. justin colorado

    Obama doesn't stand a chance against Ron Paul,

    June 12, 2011 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  12. Hank

    Here we are fighting with each other like little children and our country is burning. His fault, no his fault. Obama stinks, no Bush stinks.

    Why don't we all just be quiet and do something productive.

    June 12, 2011 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  13. maikl

    4 years more of Obama and we can say goodby to good USA. The worse president ever our Obama. What he do good is to take many vacation,play golf and bla-bla-bla. Never stop com-pain..... He is the prove that anybody can be president, but not PRESIDENT.

    June 12, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  14. bob

    This laughable coming from cnn....they want palin so they can beat the tar out of her. I love Rudy but they want him too........why no mention of rick perry? Why? the libs know this is the next reagan... who is cnn. Kidding?

    June 12, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  15. Tom McB

    I'm embarrassed for my former party (GOP). I will be voting for Obama this time around. Sick of the far right agenda; it does nothing at all for jobs or the middle class. My job was saved in the auto industry largely because of the Obama Admin. I'm thankful as are my family and friends. GOP, wake up and take care of America again. All you care about is defeating Obama and regaining power. When you had power, you blew it. That's why I left; my values are not represented any longer. The social agenda is not helping our country get jobs back.

    June 12, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  16. john leddy

    i can't make up my mind if palin is eva peron or snooki from jersey shore.

    June 12, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  17. NameMark Twain

    A politician w/poor morals is better than one w/no morals.
    A broken political promise is better than no promise at all.
    That's all we've been getting in DC my whole life! Moraless,Lieing politicians. The smartest,most honest sounding person in the 2008 race was Joe "the plumer" I'd vote for Joe over ALL(D&R) OF THEM!
    We need a ordnary citizens who have actuallyhave/had a job,and knows what its like to live pay check to pay check. All these professional politicians are out of touch and need to go home. Obama has been a DC Boy since 1996. He's one of them,plus like I belive Bush Jr. was Darth Chenney's puppet Obama is Hillary Clinton's puppet.
    Look when.Arazona passed its "Border Law" Secretary of State Clinton said the federal government would appeal the law,and it did. I thought Secretary Clinton's job was Forgin affairs,and President Obama was suspose to enforce Domestic Laws. I wish Clecy would make Hillary a Granny,so she'd quit ruining America!

    June 12, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  18. logic in LA

    Finding a winner will mean leaving out more than half of those willing to run and for the REAL republicans to stop allowing the fringe to dictate their agenda. I grew up in a conservative Barry Goldwater/Ronald Regan family. Today, the values of neither men are expressed in the candidates that claim to be cut from their cloth.
    Regan may be the father of the tax cut but the cut STILL left the government with money to operate. It was almost TWICE the level of today. Goldwater was a staunch states rights and Constitution person, but did not want minorities left out of that equation, including gays and people of faith or atheists. And he too , knew money and taxes were a necessity to operate.
    This is not a party of businessmen- it's a party of greedy men. This country gave you your wealth- while paying taxes. But now they want to keep everything for themselves and let those behind them be damned.

    June 12, 2011 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  19. rhumba

    This is a very sad statement indeed. The republicans don't care who wins as long as it's not Obama. Looks like the time is right for Eminem, Lady Gaga, Ice-T, or Rhianna to run for the republican nomination. They'd get out the voters and might just win the nomination.

    June 12, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
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