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)

[cnn-photo-caption image=

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. CorruptUS

    I blame the biased media on this!!!!!!!!!! 😉

    November 14, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  2. PixelDuster

    After reading many of these comments and their skewed opinions, I went back and checked what this site actually was.
    CNN! That says it all. These people are clueless for the most part.

    November 14, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  3. DumbasRocks [R]s

    Hey Bernie, if its you and Newt in a room, then its true that Newt is the smartest one in the room. And there's no more proof of that than your delusion about Newt being the ONE behind all of Clinton's succsesses. I didn't think that it was scientifically possible for humans to be THAT stupid. We are learning new things about the depths of uberpartisan-driven human stupidity every day from all you Teatards.

    By the way, you wouldn't know a true conservative if he/she shat on your empty head. There is no "conservative base" anymore, just the rightwing underbelly.

    November 14, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  4. rob


    November 14, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    _DC_ wrote:
    What's pulling Cain down is his debate performances, juxtaposed with Gingrich's, which show a relative lack of depth. Either of these men would destroy Obama in a debate however. I will savor that, should it come to pass.
    Shows how little that you know. Every TV media outlet has broadcast a political analyst smiling and savoring the possibility of a Cain nomination, and now a Gingrich nomination. Only Fox News is savoring those possibilities. Just they made you salivate at the thought of a Trump, or Bachmann, or a Palin, or a Perry. Do you enjoy being taught what how to think and how to say it?

    November 14, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  6. Clark

    Newt is by far the most qualified candidate of the pack. Democrats are very intimidated by him which explains why they are so stuck on highlighting his personal life and not his capabilities.

    November 14, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  7. AQ

    Um, didn't Gingrich have his own scandal involving having an affair while he was married? Yeah, love how the conservatives really practice what they preach. Here's a clue for the voters – let's stop overlooking these issues as 'it's their private lives' and start holding them accountable by NOT VOTING THEM IN!

    November 14, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain

    "It looks like if we want a conservative, we back Newt. And it may not be easy at first. But listen to the guy."

    Newt is book-smart, but he's unwilling to accept that all the Republican policies he advocates (trickle-down economics, etc.) are all PROVEN FAILURES. Plus, he's arrogant and has shown that he will put his own personal interests ahead of the welfare of our country. He didn't get the seat he wanted on the plane to Rabin's funeral and he shut down the entire federal government! That, along with his philandering, shows that he's untrustworthy and does not in any way deserve to lead our great country.

    November 14, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  9. Chuck Tanner

    Of the current field, the only Republican that can beat Obama in a general election, Huntsman, is polling at 3%. Many democrats would cross-over and vote for him; just look at the way he's salivated over on Morning Joe. Yet, you republicans would rather vote for John Kerry (Mitt Romney). Any grownups left in the republican party?

    November 14, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  10. Anomic Office Drone

    When Gingrich is considered a front runner in 2011, there is something wrong with the race.

    November 14, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. Joe

    These polls are almost worthless since they only represent the views of people who:
    1. Have a home phone line that is not on the Do Not Call list.
    2. Answer calls from unknown callers between 6-8 pm at night.
    3. Feel like taking 5-15 minutes to answer a bunch of multiple choice questions are on the phone.
    Doe this sound like you? Or are you one of the majority of Americans who don't take calls from telemarketers or unknown numbers or don't have a home phone cause you have a mobile number or don't have time to sit on the phone for 5-15 minutes or have registered for the DNC list etc.?

    November 14, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. skalamba

    Romney will win the nomination and will become the President of the United States. He has the values and the issues.
    He has the experience and understands economics to create jobs here in the U. S. We will vote for him.

    November 14, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. Boss

    Where are your minds America. Wake Up! Obama, Romney, Perry and Cain are funded by the banking cartels. Ron Paul is by far our best choice.
    Ron Paul serves on the House Committees on Foreign Affairs and Financial Services, and on the Joint Economic Committee. He is the chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology, where he has been an outspoken critic of American foreign and monetary policy.
    Dr. Paul is clearly the most qualified candidate to tackle our Nations critical economic and foreign affair issues. The rest of the top tier candidates like Romney, Perry, Cain and Obama are a bunch of clowns who receive their funds from major donors from Wall Street.
    Ron Paul receives more financial contributions from active duty vets than all the other candidates combined. Why is this? They know that Ron Paul is the best solution for our National Defense, though the establishment media is trying to make him look like a kook who would hurt national security. We need to defend our borders and give all these National Guard troops who are on their 3rd and 4th tours of duty a break. What if there was a real war in the near future? Our military is already at the breaking point from wars started to help banks and oil companies. We need an agenda to help America. Vote for Ron Paul 2012!!!!

    November 14, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. Are you serious

    What? Ron Paul isn't leading this poll? But his supporters keep saying he's the front runner! How can Paul not be miles ahead of the others??? Unless his supporters are.... lying? Oh heavens, that can't be! I mean, Gngrich has been going up and is now getting more attention. Just imagine what would happen if Paul actually did well in one of these polls... for a change.

    Gotta love seeing Cain taking a slide after all those women were discovered. The media ain't making those polls numbers up.

    November 14, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. Jose M. Pulido

    Even though in the USA we are not a 100% Christian nation, I would not vote for Romney because he is, as former president Bush might say, a "Mormonian." Many Mormonians...I mean many Mormons still support polygamy; not that a president Romney would reinstate polygamy in the USA but I rather have a Christian president than a president who is a member of cult or a dangerous ideology such as Islam.
    And I am a liberal Democrat, so I am not word-processing this entry as a conservative Repugnican who thinks I am holier than thou; many Republicans believe all Democrats are atheists or Islamists but that is not the case.

    November 14, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  16. saftgek

    valwayne – – – forgive the brashness, but "what the hell is wrong with you!" "The damage Obama has caused in 3 years ?"

    Are you and others so distant from reality that you do not recognize the waste laid by the GOP since President Obama was sworn in? The GOP declared war on the Presdient and the Administration from Day 1. The GOP made it consistently clear they were going to say "no" to everything related to the Obama Administration – and they have!

    The GOP has said "Up Yours" to the entire country – in fact, to the world – because of their bigotted rage over the concept of President Obama defeating their choise for POTUS. The GOP has demonstrated – as a collective group – they care not one whit about the country and its people. They are so full of anger, and arrogance, they are committed to throwing out the baby with the bath water.

    How about "What's Good for the Country?!?" Well, that's not in the GOP's collective vocabulary.

    November 14, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  17. Justin

    Newt is just mirroring Ron Paul to steal his thunder. Newt's voting record will show you his true colors. He is just another globalist like every other president since Reagan. He is up there because he is a smooth talker and is the only one up there with a clue besides Dr. Paul.

    The establishment is just cycling through it's puppets. Trying to gauge who will be best to continue the agenda. CBS gave Ron Paul 89 seconds to speak in the last debate. He wins the majority of the polls (they just show you the ones he loses on TV). They fear Ron Paul because they can't buy him.

    The sad part is thesheep will still vote for the one with the best hair or catch phrase.

    November 14, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  18. Pat

    Ron Paul 2012!

    November 14, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  19. Are you serious

    Jerry, what about the hypocrisy of the GOP spending 10s of millions going after Clinton and protecting Cain like he's a saint? Not one candidate slamming him for all those allegations, demanding full disclosure, calling for him to step down like they did over Clinton & Weiner. And how about Gingrich leading the charge to take down Clinton while nailing his aide and his wife's in the hospital getting cancer surgery. Gotta love those family values.

    November 14, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  20. Toto

    Romney seems to consistently be at the top or near the top, all the others have risen and fallen. So unless something new arises, Romney will probably get it.

    November 14, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  21. Ron

    Thought I'd check out CNN site and boy have I confirmed what I suspected – Democrats and liberals hang out here. We all have our political opinions and preferences – that's one of the great things about this country. But when someone results to insults and calling other candidates names, you have to question if they could defend their candidate without mudslinging.

    November 14, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  22. txrbt

    Racist Dems sandbagged Herman because they knew he would destroy Obama in 2012.

    November 14, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  23. Truth

    The unfortunate issue with Newt is his record. Not personal, his voting record. He voted against the american people every bit of the way. Watch the John Birch Societies video about Newts voting record and you will be appalled.

    November 14, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  24. Annette LaBonte

    There are many people who know what Newt did to his first wife–how he went into her hospital room after her mastectomy and served her with divorce papers AND how he led the charge to impeach President Clinton while having an affair with a married woman. We know names and dates and we won't be silent. So think about that before you start promoting him.

    November 14, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. Jim

    Does anybody expect to find a boy scout anymore in politics? Newt is the most experienced with the proper drive to point us in the right direction. He hasn't said anythiing yet that I don't agree with... he gets it!

    November 14, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18