CNN Poll: Gingrich soars, Cain drops
November 14th, 2011
12:03 PM ET
11 years ago

CNN Poll: Gingrich soars, Cain drops

Washington (CNN) - A new national survey of Republicans indicates that it's basically all tied up between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich in the race for the GOP presidential nomination, with Gingrich on the rise and businessman Herman Cain falling due to the sexual harassment allegations he's been facing the past two weeks.

According to a CNN/ORC International Poll released Monday, 24% of Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP say Romney is their most likely choice for their party's presidential nominee with Gingrich at 22%. Romney's two-point advantage is well within the survey's sampling error.

Full results (pdf)

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While the level of support has pretty much stayed the same for Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who's making his second bid for the White House, Gingrich has seen his support jump 14 points since October.

The poll also indicates that 14 percent back Cain, down 11 points from last month. Four women have alleged that Cain sexually harassed them during the late 1990s when he headed the National Restaurant Association. Cain denies the allegations.

"Cain is struggling with the charges of sexual harassment, and while most Republicans tend to dismiss those charges, roughly four in 10 Republicans think this is a serious matter and tend to believe the women who made those charges," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.

The survey indicates that only a bare majority of Republicans tend to believe Cain, and more than a third say he should end his presidential campaign. Among the general public, Cain has a bigger credibility problem - 50% of all Americans say they tend to believe the women and only a third say they believe Cain.

"Not surprisingly, there is a big gender gap on this matter - women say this is a serious matter and believe the women, but men say the story has been overblown and are split on which side they believe," Holland added.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is at 12% in the survey, basically all even with Cain for third place in the hunt for the nomination. Perry was at 13% in CNN's October poll. The new survey was conducted Friday through Sunday, entirely after last Wednesday's presidential debate where Perry suffered an embarrassing "oops" moment when the one-time front-runner struggled for nearly a minute to name the third of three federal agencies he would cut if elected president.

While Perry's overall horse race number has not suffered, dig deeper into the poll and it appears the "oops" moment is hurting his standing with Republican voters. In September, 72% of Republicans said Perry had the right personal qualities to be president. A majority of Republicans still feel that way, but that number has dropped 14 points since September.

According to the poll, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who's making his third run for the presidency, is at 8%, with Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota at 6%, former Utah Gov. and former ambassador to China Jon Huntsman and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania each at 3%, and 8% are unsure.

The poll's Monday release comes seven weeks and one day before the Iowa caucuses, the first contest on the primary and caucus calendar. The survey indicates that just over six in 10 Republicans say they may change their minds, with 31% say they will definitely support the candidate they are currently backing.

With Cain dropping and Perry flat-lining, it looks like it's Gingrich's turn to become the "anybody but Romney" candidate. If the GOP race becomes a two-man battle between Romney and Gingrich, the poll indicates they are well-matched. Romney and Gingrich are the two most popular Republican candidates among the GOP rank and file, and the only two with favorable ratings above 50% among the Republicans surveyed.

More than three-quarters of Republicans think both men have the right personal qualities to be president and more than seven in 10 Republicans say they agree with Gingrich and Romney on important issues.

The key difference between Romney and Gingrich is electability. For the first time in CNN's polling, Romney now tops Barack Obama in a head-to-head matchup among registered voters. But Gingrich faces an 8-point deficit when paired with Obama in a general election matchup.

"Among all Americans, 58% say that Romney has the personal qualities a president should have, compared to just 45% for Gingrich. Most Americans don't agree with either man on important issues," Holland said.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International, with 1,036 adults Americans, including 480 Republicans and Independents who lean Republican, as well as 552 men and 514 women, questioned by telephone. The overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points, with a sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points for questions only of Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP.

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

Also see:

CNN Poll: Support rises for health insurance mandate

Democrats obsessed with Romney?

Cain 'totally respects women,' wife says

soundoff (444 Responses)
  1. sarah

    If Newt gets the GOP nomination they can kiss the women's vote and the Independents vote good bye. Gingrich is such a pig. So the the GOP,the supposed party for family values, is pushing a thrice married adulterer whose ethic's violations are notorious. You can't make this stuff up.

    November 14, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  2. mike

    Seriously, does ANYONE believe CNN Poles any more? Leftist CNN conducting poles on Republican issues is like the kids saying they didn't eat the cookies. With the news media bashing anyone that gets to the front, other than middle of the road Romney, you're going to see him lock up the nomination just because he's the only one that isn't getting bashed.

    November 14, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  3. Yenta

    For those conservative Christians who are obsessed with family values, Newt ain't no saint in his private life. He just might be the nominee because, after all the Massachusetts health care plan designed by Romney is what Obama adopted. I don't see the primary voters–most of whom hate "Obamacare"–voting for Romney. If he is nominated, maybe there will be a third candidate.

    November 14, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  4. Mikey

    Aparently, all the GOP candidates flunked biology (among other things based on their astounding collective intellectual prowess). YOUR HEART IS IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR CHEST, IDIOTS!

    November 14, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. Corporations R. People II

    Newt vs Obama in a debate....Obama gets slaughtered

    That's funny, truly it is. There is so much material now to show that Newtered - in his quest to be the opposite of Obama in all things - is a flip-flopper supreme, only topped by the well-lubricated weathervane called Willard.
    "Right-wing social engineering" along with Newton's ever-shifting positions on Libya (only thing consistent was he was consistently wrong) will not allow him to have any traction in any setting with Obama. Govt shutdown of the 90's?? Was that Newtie and Blowfish? Yup, sure was.
    Newt is a legend in his own mind (and yours too apparently). Thanks for the laughs on a Monday!!

    November 14, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. DaveinSC

    I checked the schedule. Two weeks from now Santorum will be the leader with a 3 point lead. The tea party wants to throw everyone out of office, just didn't realize they were only up for a two week term limit.

    November 14, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. Travis

    I think Herman Cain's problem is not so much that he harassed those women, but more that the American people are starting to see through his game. I can see Cain as the kind of guy who would do the kinds of things he's been accused of, but I am extremely skeptical of the women accusing him now when he's running for president. It smacks of shameless opportunism. Unfortunately for Cain, he cannot level that charge against him because it would be like the pot calling the kettle black. His entire campaign is nothing more than an orchestrated series of events to put him in a position where he can eventually bow out of the presidential race and make a fortune in speaking engagements, book deals, and maybe even a contract with Fox News. It worked for Sarah Palin and Donald Trump; it can work for Herman Cain. It's self-promotion at its worst. And even if the Cain campaign ends today, he will still be raking in the money hand over fist because he knows how to manipulate the right people. Welcome to America. This is what we've become.

    November 14, 2011 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. Evelyn

    Huntsman is by far the smartest of the bunch and is more qualified in both leadership and foreign affairs. Above all he is a moderate which is what America needs now. No more off the wall Tea Party ideas. Plain common sense is what this country needs

    November 14, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. Claire

    What shocks me is that there is anyone out there at all who still supports Rick Perry. His numbers have dropped ... but not that much ... Regardless of his idealogy (which is bad enough) he comes across as mentally challenged, to put it politely. The line up of candidates reminds me of the bar scene in the original Star Wars movie. What a bunch of trolls.

    November 14, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  10. Pat . D.

    As I said in China this spring, there is no place for abuse in what must be considered the family of man. There is no place for torture and arbitrary detention. There is no place for forced confessions. There is no place for intolerance of dissent." "While we walked through the Rotunda. I explained to President Jiang how the roots of American rule of law go back more than 700 years, to the signing of the Magna Carta. The foundation of American values, therefore, is not a passing priority or a temporary trend." Newt Gingrich

    November 14, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. Indy Jim

    As long as they don't nominate a community organizer, we know how that turned out.

    November 14, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. us1776

    Newt was seen singing after the debate:

    I feel pretty
    Oh so pretty
    I feel pretty, and witty and bright
    And I pity
    Any girl who isn't me tonight


    November 14, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |

    Just let Newt talk. He will blow it. He's the flavor of this week.

    November 14, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  14. Truth

    I am voting for Ron Paul no matter if he runs on the Rupublican or Libretarian ticket. I am sick of all that is DC and I am going to vote for the guy that has warned us of what we are dealing with today for the last 30 years. I dont care if he can win or not, that will be determined. I however will never vote for the lesser of two evils again. Ron Paul 2012

    November 14, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  15. Corporations R. People II

    Don’t Poo Poo Newt so quickly. He will kill Obama in debates.....A real intellectual against a prompter reader. The way society is today, the only thing that will matter is what they see on TV just before going to vote for the next presidential, and that will be the debates.

    Poo poo.
    Donald thought he could match wits one on one with our President....he got roasted hours before Osama got toasted.
    Family values....What'll it be, slim? Right wing social engineering, anyone? Or how about we talk about budget showdowns, that end up in shutdowns? Contract on America indeed. Newt, a sterling record to run from... oops - on.

    November 14, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  16. annie s

    The Republicans are going from bad to worse. Really, maybe they should just sit this one out, as none can hold a candle to President Obama.

    November 14, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  17. Ron

    For those of you who seem to think the race for the Republican nomination is a joke – I remind you of the last Democratic race. Check out the mud they threw at each other. It too was a 3 ring circus. Of course we don't want to forget about John Edwards. Joe got the V.P. job and Hillary got the Sec. State job so they forgot how they tried to convince America Obama wasn't right for the job – seems they were right.

    November 14, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  18. Woman In California

    @ Jarod

    Ya know, all this means is that we will be hearing about Newts problems/infidelity, newest mistress etc and then Santorum or Paul will surface as the next contestants on "Name that Republican candidate". In the end, it'll be a Romney/Christie ticket versus an Obama/Biden match up. Any takers?


    Romney is a stiff by all accounts. His biggest problem SHOULD he win (and he won't) would be to find a VP who would not over shadow him. Having Christie as a VP would be too much for Romney as Christie has life and knows how to relate to people – something Romney knows nothing about. The TP would only be using Romney to oust the black man and then they would use Christie to oust Romney make no mistake about that. In 2016 Romney would be sent packing.

    Obama 2012.

    November 14, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  19. Robert

    Funny, I along with others I know still support the man who get the least amount of air time in the corporate run media machine. Ron Paul 2012!

    November 14, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
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