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. Patrick from Minnesota

    I bet they won't say that when they lose in 2012...

    June 12, 2011 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  2. southsidemike

    Don't believe it

    June 12, 2011 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  3. John

    there Is No Republican going to beat President Obama. You Republican got us Into this mess to begin with, we sure are not going to let you make It worst.

    June 12, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  4. BlackUSAguy

    If they do this, then the hard GOP won't vote for them. AND, the candidates will be seen as RINO.

    June 12, 2011 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  5. Charlie from the North

    A "winner" huh? Well that explains why they are not satisfied with what they have.

    June 12, 2011 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  6. grif99999

    John. So the Dems did nothing to get us into the mess we are in?? I think you will find the Dems have already made it worse. BO cannot run on his record. He is very vunerable and I think several GOP candidates can beat him.

    June 12, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  7. DUMPthelibsandtheRinos

    The GOP may want to settle for a winner but they wont get it unless they elect Paul, Cain or an equal conservative. We need some one to take us out of the wilderness we are in and bring us out of the dark ages of liberalism and rinosim.

    June 12, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  8. tito

    When I read the headline, I thought they were suggesting GOP voters were going to vote for Obama. He has a clear chance of winning,though he has a slightly(and I mean slightly: same foreign policy,monentary policy...) different set of values than any alleged Republican favorites,say G.W.Bush, or any of the current candidates who have sold their souls to be elected to public office. US politics makes professional wrestling look real.

    June 12, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  9. GonzoinHouston

    2012 will have the re-election of Obama and the implosion of the Tea Party. When the TP's don't get what they want in the nominee they will pitch such a fit that they will alienate the rest of the GOP. Between the split with the TP's and the general disgust by the voters at the spectacle of said split the only votes the GOP will get will be from the truest of the True Believers.

    June 12, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  10. mike

    Ron Paul has the best chance to win . He can take votes from Obama for his anti-war , less spending , less taxes & monetary polices . REAL CHANGE FOR THE PEOPLE !

    June 12, 2011 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  11. Paul-Palok Camaj

    Do not let Democrats to treat Republicans as they are agains middle class.

    June 12, 2011 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  12. chad

    That means they will nominate Romney. Every other candidate is a far right ideologue with fascist proclivities.

    June 12, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  13. tommyJ

    Yeah, this doesn't account for primary voters, who are motivated to vote for their ideals. Let's see how true this is in the primaries. Is it the wingnuts or the moderates that win? It all may depend on who the tea party mobilizes.

    June 12, 2011 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  14. DUMPthelibsandtheRinos

    The Bushes, Clintons and Obama have left this country mortally wounded with their open border job exporting policies so it wont matter at this point.

    June 12, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  15. Eric The Red

    I'm a moderate republican who voted for Obama. I could vote for Guliani. Other than that, Obama still has my vote. Our problem is in Congress, not the oval office.

    June 12, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  16. ot

    they don't know what they want ,

    June 12, 2011 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  17. Vavoom

    43% of people participating in pole were rep yet 49% favored the rep. this pole is actually bad news for obama

    June 12, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  18. Randy, San Francisco

    The worst enemy of the GOP/Tea Party lies within the party. Wingnuts, social conservatives, and Tea Party members will not embrace anyone who can win, a moderate who can attract independents. Anyone who does not pass the purity test is branded a RINO.

    June 12, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  19. George Washington

    Constitutionally, legislatively, and morally, Ron Paul has no equal. His 22 year voting record speaks for itself.
    Mr. Paul has not survived in politics for 22 years and maintain the ethics and morality he has by being anything other than stellar.
    If You refute the above comment, then I please invite You to listen to him speak about key issues. It is amazing how well he comes across because he doesn’t have to remember lies like other politicians. He understands what is happening in the world and knows how to apply the basic principles of liberty to achieve the real change that America so desperately deserves.
    American to American we are all on the same team. So I present Mr. Ron Paul as my Candidate for 2011 and invite anybody to meaningfully and respectfully debate why he is not the best for American and its people in 2012.
    Ron Paul = A real change, not for special interest, but for America’s Interests!
    Thank You for Your time
    Ron Paul 2012

    June 12, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  20. Nikos

    Even if the repubs were to nominate joe the plumber they'd win.

    It's the economy stupid.

    June 12, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  21. Name

    ....we democrat know for sure..., you guys republican want to win the coming elation however, there is no way that you can bit Brack Obama, ok..! You will not let this country worse. Our president will win the next election for hundred percent sure.... We are proud of what he has been doing....!!!!

    June 12, 2011 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  22. TVPreacher

    So, Republicans are looking for a 'Trojan Candidate' that won't act like a Republican... until he wins. Then he'll resume the Republican agenda of turning America over to the same corporations who raped and plundered the middle class until America almost collapsed. And it might work, if Democrats don't vote.

    June 12, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  23. George R

    No matter what they tell pollsters, the repugnants just can't help themselves from letting one of their fringe crazies get them all worked up with another "outrage" created by the right wing lie machine.

    June 12, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  24. tookie

    I hope sarah palin runs. lol why won't she tell anyone what she is doing? I'm ready for some good old jokes 2 start floatn around.

    June 12, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  25. Thankfully Independent

    I agree most wholeheartedly with Eric the Red (above), except that I could vote for Jon Huntsman. But up until he gets the GOP nod, my vote will go for Obama.

    June 12, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
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